Widespread Protests Continue in Georgia Over Controversial “Foreign Agents” Bill Amid Second Parliamentary Readings

Protests continue in Georgia, as the Parliament is conducting the second reading of the controversial “foreign agents” bill, amid widespread protests.

On April 28 2024, approximately 20,000 demonstrators opposed the legislation in the capital city of Tbilisi, and reports signal that the protests, including blocking major roads and clashing with riot police, have spread to other cities like Batumi.

The proposed bill would mandate organizations receiving over 20% of their funding from foreign sources to register as “foreign agents.” The Georgian government persists with the bill despite the controversy, claiming it aims to increase transparency, while critics argue that the bill mirrors similar Russian laws and could suppress civil society and dissent.

The ruling Georgian Dream party, which supports the bill citing increased transparency for NGOs, has also organized pro-government rallies.

The bill requires three readings to become law, and the parliament already passed its first reading on April 17th.