Police in the capital, Tbilisi, used water cannon and tear gas to try to disperse thousands of protesters who feared the bill would harm Georgia’s hopes of joining the European Union.
The law, which has the backing of the ruling Georgian Dream party, requires all organizations that receive more than 20 percent of their funding from abroad to register as “foreign agents” or face heavy fines. Georgian media reported that the bill passed its first parliamentary reading.
Critics said it was reminiscent of a 2012 law passed in Russia that has been used since then to deter dissent, Reuters writes.
The president is against the motion
Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili, who wants to veto the law if it is passed, said she stands with the protesters.
– You represent free Georgia, Georgia that sees its future in the West, and that will not allow anyone to take this future from us, – she said in a letter recorded in the United States, where she is on an official visit.
“No one needs this law… everyone who voted for this law has violated the constitution,” she added.
However, Parliament can override her veto power.
At least three petrol bombs and stones were thrown at police outside the parliament building on Tuesday. People affected by police tear gas were treated on the stairs outside Parliament House.
– I came here because I know my country belongs to Europe, but my government doesn’t understand that, 30-year-old protester Dimiter Shanshiashvili told Reuters.
– He added: We are here to protect our country because we do not want to be part of Russia again.
Some of the demonstrators carried Georgian, European and American flags, chanting “No to Russian law”.
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