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The Georgian authorities ignored the protests and criticism from Brussels. “This law will take us back to the times of the Soviet Union”

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Georgians, we hear and see you, wrote the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola. This is one of many reactions in the West caused by the adoption of the law on foreign agents by the Georgian parliament. Georgians dream of Europe, and the new law is a copy of the one written in Russia. Crowds of those who fear this may be the last free protest of the opposition have gathered again in front of the Georgian parliament.

There was a very nervous atmosphere in the capital of Georgia since the morning. Before the key vote, politicians lost their temper and there were fights in parliament. A crowd gathered in front of the parliament in Tbilisi protesting against the adoption of the law on the transparency of foreign influence, also known as the law on foreign agents.

– This law will take us back to the times of the Soviet Union, and in the USSR you had little choice: you could either be a slave or simply die – commented one of the protesters. – We do not agree with this law. It destroys our dreams of a future in the European Union, said another protester.

The parliamentary majority did not bow to the pressure of the protesters. The controversial law was adopted.

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Attempted storming of parliament

After the vote, demonstrators blocked the parliament building. The head of the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs threatened them with prison for this. There was an attempted assault. America and Europe are monitoring the situation in Georgia on an ongoing basis. During the day, the Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Kobakhidze, and James O'Brien, assistant US Secretary of State for European and Asian Affairs, met. The Georgian government refused to meet with a delegation of parliamentarians from Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

– The position of the European Union and member states is that this law, if it comes into force, will constitute a huge obstacle to Georgia's integration with Europe – said Peter Stano, spokesman for the European Commission.

SEE ALSO: The Georgian parliament adopted the “Russian law”. Protest and scuffle with the police in front of the building

Scuffles in the Georgian parliamentReuters

The controversial law is called, among other things, the “Russian Law” because it is modeled on Putin's regulations on foreign agents. It assumes that organizations receiving more than 20 percent of funding from abroad will be included in a special register of agents of foreign influence, and the authorities will be able to carry out inspections on them under any pretext.

Opponents of such solutions argue that, as in Russia, the law may be used to suppress the opposition and independent media. Georgia has had the official status of a candidate country for joining the European Union for several months. According to the Georgian opposition, the bill moves the country away from the dream of membership in the Community.

Kremlin: Georgia is trying to defend itself against foreign forces

– Every meter, every centimeter that moves Georgia away from the West is a victory for Putin. This is what is happening now. People in the Kremlin will be very happy now, commented Gigi Tsereteli, a Georgian opposition politician.

According to the Kremlin, the Georgian authorities are trying to defend themselves against “foreign forces that interfere in the country's internal affairs.”

“We express deep disappointment with the adoption by the Georgian parliament of the law “on the transparency of foreign influence”, which distances Georgia from the European Union. We call on the authorities to stop repression against NGOs and independent media,” wrote the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

– We are dealing with a country that is partially free. We can call it a hybrid regime, a democratic-authoritarian regime. The ruling team hopes to pacify these protests and show strength. He wants to demobilize people. They will feel that they protested and it didn't help, commented Adam Balcer from the College of Eastern Europe.

President Salome Zourabishvili announced a veto against the controversial bill, but the ruling coalition has a sufficient majority in parliament to reject this objection.

Facts about the World TVN24 BiS

Main photo source: Dawid Mdzinarishvili/PAP/EPA

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