Police use water cannons, tear gas on protesters in Tbilisi, ruling party scraps controversial law

The police used tear gas and water cannons

The police used tear gas and water cannons

Radio Liberty’s Ekho Kavkaza reported on Telegram in the early hours of March 9 that the Georgian Dream and their offshoot the People’s Power were shelving the controversial bill on “foreign agents” – analogous to a repressive law used in Russia.

Earlier, using tear gas and water cannons, security forces again dispersed demonstrators against the law on “foreign agents” after thousands gathered in the center of Tbilisi. However, the protesters soon regrouped and gathered beside the parliament again.

At around 2.00 am local time, riot police began to disperse the people gathered on the Georgian capital’s Rustaveli Avenue. They used tear gas, water cannons, and occasionally fired air guns with rubber bullets into the water.

Protesters in Georgia had made two demands of the authorities on the evening of March 8, after which they decided to start a siege of the parliament – ​​scrap the law, and release detainees from previous protests.

Read also: Amid protests over ‘Russian’ law in Georgia, will Putin be tempted to intervene?

The Georgian parliament on March 7 approved a bill on foreign agents at first reading. The law, tabled by the ruling Georgian Dream party, requires non-governmental organizations and media outlets that receive more than 20% of their funding from abroad to register as “agents of foreign influence” – or face fines.

The same evening, thousands of Georgians gathered in front of the parliament building to protest against the decision. The police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the demonstrators.

Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili said she agreed with the protesters’ objections to the draft law on foreign agents, and said she would veto it, although the ruling coalition in Georgia’s parliament had enough votes to override a presidential veto.

Meanwhile, the European Union’s top diplomat Josep Borrell said that the bill contradicts the values ​​and standards of the union, which Georgia, like Ukraine, hopes to join.

Following the first day of protests in Tbilisi, the police arrested 66 people and opened several criminal cases on public disorder charges. The protesters demanded that the charges be dropped and the detainees released.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine

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