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Demonstrators hold a rally to protest against a bill on "foreign agents" in Tbilisi, Georgia, May 13, 2024.

REUTERS/Irakli Gedenidze

Georgia’s government is ramming through “Russian law”

Police in Tbilisiviolently arrested at least 20 people on Monday at peaceful protests outside parliament, where the inflammatory “foreign agents” law was being rushed through committee. Having passed its third reading, the bill will go to a final vote Tuesday. It now seems all but inevitable to become law, opening questions about how far the ruling Georgian Dream party will go to cement its control.

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Tbilisi clashes: Georgia government pushes "Russian" bill risking EU candidacy
TITLE PLACEHOLDER | Europe In :60

Tbilisi clashes: Georgia government pushes "Russian" bill risking EU candidacy

Carl Bildt, former prime minister of Sweden, shares his perspective on European politics from Arizona, US.

With the huge protests that we see in the streets of Tbilisi, is that a sign of the Georgian government moving closer to Russia?

Well, it is certainly a sign of the Georgian government being more authoritarian and distinctly more anti-Western. And that is, of course, endangering the ambitions of Georgia to move closer to the European Union, eventually membership. We'll see what happens. But Georgia was given this status of candidate country to the European Union. I think what we see now is going to have the consequences that there's not going to be any movement forward on that until we see Georgia moving into more Western, Democratic, and liberal direction.

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Protesters barricade the entrance of Parliament during a rally to protest against a bill on "foreign agents", in Tbilisi, Georgia, May 2, 2024.

REUTERS/Irakli Gedenidze

Georgians take to the streets against ‘foreign agent’ law

Protests against a controversial “foreign agent” bill in Georgia this week have led to violent police crackdowns in the capital, Tbilisi. The bill will require organizations that receive more than 20% of their funding from abroad to register as foreign agents.

The ruling Georgian Dream party says the measure — which was advanced in parliament on Wednesday — will improve transparency. But opponents say it is identical to a law the Kremlin has used to crush dissent.

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