Georgian Parliament Speaker Shalva Papuashvili on Friday thanked the country’s Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri and the police for “protecting the legislative body and maintaining public order” during March protests in Tbilisi against the bill on transparency of foreign influence.
Papuashvili expressed his gratitude to the Minister, after the latter addressed the lawmaking body on Friday, and “every police officer” on behalf of the Parliament, as they had protected the citizens, as well as MPs and employees of the legislative body from the demonstrators trying to storm the state institution.
The demonstrators were protesting the bill outside the Parliament building that envisaged registration of non-commercial legal entities and media outlets as “agents of foreign influence” if they derived more than 20 percent of their funding from abroad, with police arresting a total of 146 people for violation of the rule of law and public order.
Irakli Kobakhidze, the Chair of the ruling Georgian Dream party, also thanked the Interior Minister for conducting relevant operations “at the highest level” and in compliance with European standards, adding during the demonstrations, “Europe was on the side of police force and not of the violent demonstrators”.
The controversial bill was withdrawn by the ruling Georgian Dream party following the rallies “considering the importance of peace” in the country and was rejected by the legislative body in early April.