Police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse demonstrators in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi on Tuesday evening, March 7, after the country’s parliament passed the first reading of a so-called “foreign agent” law.
Video by Varaz Abazadze shows a water cannon being used against protesters gathered outside the parliament building.
The “foreign agent” law would require organizations that receive more than 20 percent of funding from abroad to register as foreign agents. Human Rights Watch condemned the legislation, saying it “would also impose additional onerous reporting requirements, inspections, and administrative and criminal liability, including up to five years in prison for violations.”
Critics have likened the law, which will need to pass second and third readings before it is adopted, to legislation in Russia, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) said.
The US Embassy in Georgia said it was a “dark day” for Georgia’s democracy. “Parliament’s advancing of these Kremlin-inspired laws is incompatible with the people of Georgia’s clear desire for European integration and its democratic development," the embassy said. Credit: Varaz Abazadze via Storyful