In Georgia, several thousand people demonstrate against the law on “foreign influence”

Several thousand people demonstrated on Friday May 3 in Georgia against the controversial bill on “foreign influence”, widely criticized by Westerners

In Georgia, several thousand people demonstrate against the law on “foreign influence”

Several thousand people demonstrated on Friday May 3 in Georgia against the controversial bill on “foreign influence”, widely criticized by Westerners. The number of protesters was down compared to previous evenings, when tens of thousands of people took to the streets. Wednesday's rally was dispersed by police using tear gas and rubber bullets.

On Friday, protesters gathered in front of the Paragraph Hotel, which belongs to the company of oligarch Bidzina Ivanishvili and where an Asian Development Bank forum is taking place, attended by members of the Georgian government. The protesters then went to the headquarters of the ruling party, Georgian Dream, of which Mr. Ivanishvili is accused by the opposition of pulling the strings.

They chanted “we will not tire! ", "Georgia will win! and “No to the Russian government! », Georgian Dream and its ministers being accused by their detractors of playing into the hands of Russia. The legislation that sparked the protest movement is inspired by a law used for years by the Kremlin to suppress dissenting voices.

A person arrested

“We are going to the headquarters of Georgian Dream to ask them to release the young people arrested in recent days and to call on them to abandon Russian law,” a demonstrator, Data Nadaraïa, a student, told Agence France-Presse. aged 24 in Tbilisi. One person was arrested by the police on Friday and twenty-three others were arrested the day before, according to the Interior Ministry.

The foreign influence bill, passed in second reading by Parliament on Wednesday, requires any NGO or media organization receiving more than 20% of its funding from abroad to register as an “organization pursuing the interests of a foreign power.” This text was criticized by the UN, the United States and the European Union, which Georgia aspires to integrate. The government assures for its part that this measure is intended to force organizations to demonstrate greater “transparency” regarding their funding.