Georgian Parliament to Adopt ‘Foreign Influence’ Bill Despite Protests: PM

Mon May 13 2024
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TBILISI: Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze said on Monday that parliament would adopt a “foreign influence” bill targeting NGOs the next day, despite weeks of strong protests and escalating tensions.

The bill, which has sparked outrage among activists and opposition groups, is set to target non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and has drawn comparisons to repressive legislation enacted in Russia.

In a televised address to the nation, Kobakhidze asserted the government’s intention to move forward with the bill’s adoption, emphasizing that it reflects the will of the majority of the population. His remarks came against the backdrop of renewed protests in the capital city of, marking the third consecutive night of demonstrations.

Warning against potential repercussions of abandoning the bill, Kobakhidze invoked concerns over Georgia’s sovereignty, drawing parallels with Ukraine’s situation.

Moreover, Kobakhidze hinted at potential trade-offs should the bill be withdrawn, suggesting that Georgia could face pressures to enact other controversial laws, including those pertaining to “same-sex legalization” and “uncontrolled immigration.”

As students took to the streets once again, marching towards parliament, the atmosphere remained charged with dissent. Protesters voiced their opposition to the bill, asserting that its passage would divert Georgia from its trajectory towards European Union (EU) integration. Many accuse the ruling party, Georgian Dream, of steering the country closer to its ex-Soviet neighbor, Moscow, in defiance of aspirations for closer ties with the West.

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