In Georgia, a new demonstration against the law on “foreign influence”

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Demonstration against the controversial bill on “foreign influence”, in Tbilisi, May 11, 2024. GIORGI ARJEVANIDZE / AFP

Several thousand demonstrators took to the streets on Saturday May 11 evening in Tbilisi to once again protest against the controversial bill on“foreign influence”wanted by the government but criticized by the United States and the European Union.

In the crowd, which converged on Europe Square, demonstrators displayed the flags of Georgia and the European Union – Georgia has officially been a candidate for membership since December 2023 – despite this text which its detractors consider similar to a Russian legislation used against the opposition.

In the city center of Tbilisi, an impressive crowd gathered after dark, despite a heavy downpour, to show their opposition, a large police force having been installed earlier in the day. “No to Russian law! », “No to the Russian dictatorship! »chanted the numerous demonstrators who were walking along the Koura River.

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Text inspired by Russian legislation

The small Caucasus country of Georgia has been gripped by anti-government protests since early April after the ruling Georgian Dream party reintroduced a bill seen as an impediment to Tbilisi’s aspirations to join the Union. European.

This text is inspired by Russian legislation used for several years by the Kremlin to repress dissident voices.

The bill must pass its third reading in Parliament very soon and the president, Salomé Zourabichvili – a former French diplomat naturalized Georgian –, in conflict with the ruling party, is expected to veto it. Georgian Dream, however, has enough votes to be able to override it.

At the end of 2023, the European Union considered that Tbilisi should carry out reforms of its judicial and electoral systems, increase press freedom and limit the power of oligarchs before its membership negotiations are officially launched.

Read also | Article reserved for our subscribers Georgia: repression increases on pro-European demonstrators

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The World with AFP

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