Georgia Withdraws Controversial "Foreign Influence" Bill Amid Opposition Protests
The ruling party of Georgia withdraws controversial "foreign influence" bill following two nights of rallies in Tbilisi, but the opposition has warned that additional demonstrations are planned for Thursday.
The statement that the measure will be rescinded was made by the country's official broadcaster hours after tens of thousands of people gathered outside the Georgian parliament for a second night of protests, some of whom clashed with police.
What Was The Bill About?
The proposed legislation, officially known as the Law on Ensuring the Transparency of Foreign-funded Organizations in Georgia, would have required non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive funding from outside the country to register as "foreign agents."
The law also gave the government broad powers to investigate and sanction NGOs that were deemed to be engaging in activities that were seen as harmful to Georgia's national security interests.
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Opposition groups and human rights activists had criticized the bill, arguing that it was vague and could be used to target any group that was deemed critical of the government or its policies.
They also raised concerns about the potential impact on the work of NGOs that rely on foreign funding to carry out their activities.
The bill had triggered a wave of protests across Georgia, with opposition parties and civil society groups staging demonstrations and rallies calling for its withdrawal.
The opposition parties had also boycotted parliamentary sessions in protest, with some lawmakers going on hunger strikes to demand the bill's withdrawal.
The protests had been peaceful, but tensions had been rising, with some opposition groups accusing the government of trying to silence dissent and stifle democracy.
In response to the mounting pressure, the Georgian government announced on Tuesday that it was withdrawing the bill.
In a statement, the government said it had "heard the concerns of society and opposition parties" and had decided to withdraw the legislation.
The move was welcomed by opposition groups and human rights activists, who saw it as a victory for democracy and freedom of expression.
However, some opposition leaders warned that they would continue to protest until other demands, such as the release of political prisoners, were met.
Georgia Withdraws Foreign Agent Bill After Days Of Protests | Georgia News Live Today | News18
What Happens Next?
The withdrawal of the bill is a positive step towards protecting the freedom of expression and democratic values in Georgia.
However, the controversy has left many questions unanswered, such as what led the government to introduce the legislation in the first place and what other measures it may have planned.
The opposition parties and human rights activists have vowed to continue their protests until their demands are met.
They have also called for an investigation into the government's actions and for measures to be put in place to prevent similar legislation from being introduced in the future.
The withdrawal of the "foreign influence" bill is a significant development in the ongoing struggle for democracy and human rights in Georgia.
It is a reminder that civil society groups and opposition parties have a crucial role to play in holding governments accountable and ensuring that democratic values are upheld.
However, the controversy also highlights the challenges facing Georgia as it seeks to build a stronger democracy and promote the rule of law.
As the country moves forward, it will need to address the concerns of civil society and opposition groups and work towards creating a more inclusive and transparent political system.