Miriam Lexmann, Member of the European Parliament commented on today's decision of the ruling Georgian Dream party on dropping a controversial bill on "foreign agents." The announcement came after two nights of violent protests and criticism that the draft law represented an authoritarian shift in the country.
MEP Lexmann said that she welcomes the news, adding "but was all this really necessary? Was it worth damaging the country’s international reputation and further polarising the society?
The only radical forces and the only machine of lies in this damaging episode proved to be the ruling party," Lexmann wrote on her Twitter page while sharing the breaking news from Goergia that the Georgian Dream withdraws the law on foreign funding from the Parliament.
As a reminder, despite the ongoing protests and opposition of a large part of society, as well as the calls of international partners, the Georgian Parliament, at its plenary session on March 7, passed a Russian-style bill “On Transparency of Foreign Influence” in the first reading by 76 votes in favor and 13 against. The bill involves registration of non-commercial legal entities and media outlets in the country as “agents of foreign influence” if they derive more than 20 percent of their income from abroad. Critics have drawn similarities to a Russian law that has severely restricted the work of civil society groups, NGOs, and media organizations there.
In response, a large-scale protest action took place outside the building of the Georgian parliament on Rustaveli Avenue in Tbilisi on March 7 and 8. The police have used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowds. Dozens of protesters, as well as 10 employees of MIA were injured.
Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of Georgia said that 133 people were detained.
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