The law on “foreign agents” has been withdrawn from the Georgian parliament, Novosti Georgia reports , citing a statement by the parliamentary majority, with the participation of Georgian Dream and Power of the People.
“We have decided to unconditionally withdraw the bill we previously supported without any reservations,” the statement said. According to its authors, the decision was made in order to maintain peace in the country.
The document notes that the prepared bill on "foreign agents" has caused controversy in society due to misinterpretation and that the parliament intends to carry out explanatory work "when the emotional background subsides." “The lie machine was able to present the bill in a negative light and mislead a certain part of the population. The bill was falsely labeled as a ''Russian law'', and its adoption in the first reading was presented in the eyes of a part of the public as a departure from the European course,” Novosti Georgia quoted the statement as saying.
The day before, the leader of the radical opposition Strategy Agmashenebeli party, Grigory Vashadze, issued an ultimatum to the ruling Georgian Dream party and demanded that the draft law on “foreign agents” be withdrawn and that the detainees be released on March 7.
On the night of March 9, clashes between protesters against the law on "foreign agents" and the police continued in the center of Tbilisi. Police used water cannons and tear gas, while activists threw stones and set garbage cans on fire. On Rustaveli Avenue, the protesters began to build barricades from benches and other improvised means, the Paper Kartuli Telegram channel reported . Judging by the photos and videos published by Radio Liberty, by morning the protesters dispersed, law enforcement officers and firefighters remained in place, extinguishing the torched cars.
Protests in Tbilisi began after parliament approved a bill on "foreign agents" in the first reading on March 7. The police reported the arrest of 66 people, it was alleged that 50 police officers were injured in clashes with protesters. On the evening of March 8, the rallies continued. The protesters were supported by Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili, who promised to veto the unpopular law.