A public protest was launched on Monday outside the Parliament of Georgia in capital Tbilisi in a demonstration against the proposed bill on registration of non-commercial legal entities and media outlets in the country as “agents of foreign influence” if they derive more than 20 percent of their income from abroad.
The protest comes amid widespread controversy around the bill that has been proposed by People's Power, a public movement composed of former members of the ruling Georgian Dream party, and has seen backlash from the civil sector, political opposition and diplomatic representations in the country.
Zurab Girchi Japaridze, the leader of the Girchi - More Freedom opposition party, said it was the “duty of any citizen” to join the protest against the draft law, which has been forwarded to the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe for opinion, before the second hearing in the Parliament on its adoption.
“The plan is to protest, in all forms - in all peaceful forms. [We need] as many protests as possible, as many people on the streets as possible. There is no other force to stop [the adoption of the proposal]”, he said.
The Legal Affairs Committee of the Parliament on Monday resumed debating the bill, after the previous session of discussions over the legislative piece in the lawmaking body resulted in verbal and physical confrontations among lawmakers last week.
Some opposition MPs - including Levan Khabeishvili, the leader of the United National Movement party - were removed from a Committee session on Monday after clashes between ruling party and opposition MPs.