Protests Continue in Georgia Over Controversial “Foreign Agent” Law

April 18 marked the third day of protests in Georgia against the “foreign agent” law, with thousands protesting in the street of Tbilisi, the capital city, amid incidents of violence and detentions during the demonstrations.

The bill has created division within the country, and protesters demand the bill’s withdrawal, arguing that it threatens democratic values and Georgia’s European aspirations. The tensions peaked when a brawl involving opposition leader Aleko Elisashvili broke out in the parliament. Elisashvili is now under investigation for assault.

The proposed law passed its first reading despite public outcry. If approved, it would mandate NGOs and media with over 20% foreign funding to register as “organizations pursuing foreign interests”, similar to Russian legislation.

The EU has expressed concerns that the law could hinder Georgia’s EU integration efforts, while the U.S. Department of State criticized the bill in a press release as “Kremlin-inspired”.