Georgia’s Ruling Party Withdraws 'Foreign Agent' Bill Following Protests

Georgia’s ruling party announced it would withdraw the so-called “foreign agent” bill on Thursday morning, March 9, following protests against the proposal in Tbilisi.

According to a statement on its website, cited by RFE’s Georgian service, the Georgian Dream party said it had “decided to unconditionally withdraw this bill that we supported.”

A joint statement posted by Georgian Dream’s coalition partners, People’s Power, said “the lie machine” had misled the public about the bill, according to a machine translation.

Footage posted to Twitter by Lasha Chikovani shows crowds gathered outside the Parliament of Georgia in Tbilisi on March 9. According to Chikovani, the demonstrators sang “anthems of Georgia, Ukraine, and the EU” at the beginning of the rally. A Google song search identified the song in the video as the Ukrainian national anthem.

Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs said 66 people were arrested during protests on March 8 due to “petty hooliganism and disobedience to the legal demands of the police.”

The law that sparked protests would have required organizations that receive more than 20 percent of funding from abroad to register as foreign agents. Credit: Lasha Chikovani via Storyful