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Protests against foreign agent bill expected in Georgia

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Protests against foreign agent bill expected in Georgia

Protest over Foreign Agent bill expected to continue in Georgia.

Protest in Tbilisi sprouted earlier this week due to the “Foreign agents” bill being discussed by Georgia’s parliament. The bill looks to make NGOs, media and other non-profit organizations register as “agents of foreign influence” when more than 20% of its funding comes from abroad.

The parliament will have its third and final reading next Monday. While the government claims the bill will increase transparency, international pressure has mounted worried the country may be sliding into an authoritarian regime.

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Opponents of the bill are expected to rally this Saturday in a final effort to stop the bill. During the past week, the protests have been absent of police violence. It is expected that demonstrations will sprout in other cities with significant police resistance. In the mid-term, the bill may threaten Georgia’s efforts to join the EU since it has been condemned by the Director General of the European Commission’s Enlargement Directorate who visited the country last week. However, the bill is likely to be approved as the opposition arguments during the first reading were insufficient for the parliamentary majority and the final reading is only on editorial amendments.

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