Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili delivered an address from New York. She supported the protesters and promised to veto the "foreign agents" law.
“Georgia sees its future in Europe. And he won't let anyone take away the European future. This future was prepared by previous generations. Nobody has the right to take it. From the first day it was obvious that I would veto this law. I don't need to consider it, I don't need to compare it with American law. We will bring Georgia to Europe. I made this promise to myself a long time ago. And this I promise you,” Zurabishvili said (Paper Kartuli translation ).
Earlier today, the President of Georgia canceled meetings scheduled for Tuesday in the United States, where she is visiting, to deliver an urgent address to the population in connection with the protests.
The rally against the adoption of the laws "On the transparency of foreign influence" and "On the registration of foreign agents" began a few hours ago after the law began to suddenly be discussed at the plenary meeting, despite the fact that the discussion was scheduled for March 9.
It is already known that the Parliament of Georgia has adopted the draft law on "foreign agents" in the first reading, as evidenced by the voting results. Of the 150 deputies, 76 were in favor (the ruling party), the opposition: 13 were against and 61 did not vote.
“Today is a black day for Georgian democracy,” the US Embassy in Georgia said in a statement. “The adoption of Kremlin-inspired laws by parliament is incompatible with Georgia’s clear desire for integration with Europe and the country’s democratic development.”
The bills were initiated by deputies from the Power of the People movement, which is part of the parliamentary majority with the ruling Georgian Dream party. They involve the creation of a register of media and non-governmental organizations that are financed from abroad by more than 20%. Supporters of the bills believe that the new laws will help protect the sovereignty of the country, opponents fear that they will interfere with Georgia's European integration, and also remind that in Russia such a law has led to the persecution of both journalists and people simply objectionable to the authorities.
An analogue of the Russian law on "foreign agents" is actively supported by representatives of the ultra-conservative nationalist Internet platform Alt-Info (Alt-Info), associated with the Kremlin. Alt-Info representatives are primarily known as the organizers of the riots in Tbilisi in the summer of 2021, when many of the far right, incited by them, came out to violently protest against pride week. Journalists were the main target of the attackers. Then the cameraman of the local Pirveli TV channel Lekso Lashkarava was beaten, he did not survive.