All participants in the protest action against the Foreign Agents Law, detained for administrative matters on March 7 and 8 near the Georgian Parliament, have been released. On this subject reported at the country’s interior ministry.
As explained in the department, some people were released after a court decision, the others were released due to the expiration of the detention period (according to Georgian law, the maximum period of stay in a remand center without charge is 48 hours.- Ed). At the same time, as noted by the police, prosecution under the criminal articles on resistance or violence against police officers, as well as under the article on damage to or destruction of property , continue. On the afternoon of March 9, the ministry said more than 60 people were detained on administrative charges.
On March 7, the majority of deputies in the Georgian parliament passed the law “On Transparency of Foreign Influence” (“Foreign Agents”), which stipulates that non-governmental organizations and the media, whose share of foreign funding is more than 20%, must be registered in a special register as “agents of foreign influence” and declare their income. In the event of refusal or evasion of registration, “foreign agents” expose themselves to a fine of up to 25,000 lari (about 9,500 dollars). At the same time, the law does not require to publicly indicate its “foreign agency”.
On the same day, protests against the adoption of this document began to take place in several cities of Georgia. The largest rallies took place in Tbilisi near the parliament building on Rustaveli Avenue, which lasted until the morning of March 9. On them, protesters clashed with security forces, who used tear gas, water cannons and sound sirens against the activists. According to the Georgian Interior Ministry, more than 130 people were arrested and more than ten security guards were injured during the two days of protests.
On the morning of March 9, the ruling Georgian Dream party announced that the “foreign agents” bill had been withdrawn from parliament after authorities concluded that the document “causes discord in society”. Party executive secretary and faction leader Mamuka Mdinaradze said Georgian Dream would deliberately defeat the “foreign agents” bill at second reading in order to stop its consideration.
Part of the opposition was skeptical of these statements and called on opponents of the bill to launch new actions demanding the release of those detained at the rallies. On the evening of March 9, thousands of demonstrators again gathered on Rustaveli Avenue, where the parliament building is located. According to a correspondent of RTVI, there are many more people than the first day of the action. Protesters greeted with applause news of the release of those detained during the March 7-8 rallies. At the same time, the demonstrators then issued a new ultimatum to the authorities: they demanded the resignation of the Georgian government and early elections.
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