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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

The Georgian Parliament has deferred the perusal of the proposed statute concerning foreign agents.

The initiators of the US version of the Foreign Agents Bill appealed to the Georgian parliament with a request to withdraw the document, and the request was granted. President Shalva Papuashvili announced this during a meeting of the Bureau of Parliament.

“We take note of the initiators’ request to withdraw the bill, which relates to the so-called transfer of US FARA, and it has been withdrawn,” Papuashvili said.

On March 7, the majority of deputies in the Georgian parliament voted in favor of the “Transparency of Foreign Influence” (Foreign Agents) Law, which stipulates that non-governmental organizations and the media, whose share of foreign funding exceeds 20%, will be required to register in a special register as “foreign influence agents” and declare their income.

On the same day, actions against the adoption of this document began to take place in several cities of Georgia. The biggest events took place near the parliament building in Tbilisi. The protests lasted until the morning of March 9. On them, protesters clashed with security forces, tear gas, water cannons and sound sirens were used against the activists. According to the Georgian Interior Ministry, more than 130 people were arrested during two days of protests and more than ten security guards were injured.

On the morning of March 9, the ruling Georgian Dream party announced that it was withdrawing the Foreign Agents Bill from parliament, as authorities had concluded that it was “causing discord in society”. Later, Georgia’s Interior Ministry reported that all participants in the protest action, detained for administrative matters on March 7-8 near the Georgian Parliament, had been released.

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