Situation tense in Georgia as Special Forces push protesters away from entrances to parliament - video, photos

Police try to clear parliament entrances during a protest against the 'Foreign Agents' bill, Tbilisi, Georgia, May 13, 2024
Police try to clear parliament entrances during a protest against the 'Foreign Agents' bill, Tbilisi, Georgia, May 13, 2024

The situation in central Tbilisi is tense as Special Forces move to push protestors of the 'Russian Law' away from parliament, Echo of the Caucasus (Radio Liberty) reported on May 13.

Protesters were blocking the entrance to parliament where ruling Georgian Party MPs must enter to consider the third, and likely final, reading of the controversial law on "foreign agents", or 'Russian law', as it is a copycat of similar Russian legislation.

Escalating the situation, security forces pushed the protesters back from the parliament's entrance, Radio Liberty reported.

Read also: Crackdown on protesters in Georgia halted, demostrations resume in front of parliament

Opponents of the law gathered the day before on Rustaveli Avenue at 10:00 p.m. and spent the night, as planned.

The action was peaceful, Radio Liberty notes. 

<span class="copyright">REUTERS/Irakli Gedenidze</span>
REUTERS/Irakli Gedenidze

Internal Affairs Ministry representatives gave protesters five minutes' notice to vacate before taking action, according to announcements over loudspeakers.

<span class="copyright">REUTERS/Irakli Gedenidze</span>
REUTERS/Irakli Gedenidze

Another special forces group is on Freedom Square, though they have not taken any action against the protesters.

<span class="copyright">REUTERS/Irakli Gedenidze</span>
REUTERS/Irakli Gedenidze

Protesting the 'Foreign Agents' bill in Georgia

Mass protests swept through Georgia on April 9 after the ruling Georgian Dream party announced its intention to reintroduce the 'Foreign Agents', or 'Russian law', bill that was abandoned in 2023 following mass protests.

Security forces moved to disperse demonstrators in Tbilisi on April 16.

Read also: What’s going on with Georgia – opinion

The Georgian legislature approved the bill in its first reading on April 17.

The measure mandates the registration of non-profit entities and media receiving over 20% of their income from abroad as ‘organizations acting in the interests of a foreign state.’

The bill requires three votes for passage in the Georgian parliament to become law.”

Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili has promised to veto the document.

The 'Foreign Agents' bill is aimed to safeguard the country from "Ukrainization", said Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze on April 18.

Ukraine's Foreign Ministry, in response, said that the real threat to Georgia is Russification, not "mystical Ukrainization", warning that using Ukraine derogatorily harms Ukrainian-Georgian relations.

European Parliament MPs voiced concerns that adopting the 'Foreign Agents' bill could jeopardize the country’s Euro-Atlantic integration efforts.

Read also: Pro-Russian party in Georgia is revoked six months before parliamentary elections

The European Parliament passed a resolution on April 25 regarding Georgia’s 'Foreign Agents' bill that casts doubt on the country’s EU accession talks while the law is active.

Clashes erupted between police and protesters near the Georgian parliament on April 30.

President Zourabichvili urged an end to the protest dispersal in Tbilisi and held the government responsible for the unrest.

The Interior Ministry announced that police had arrested 60 demonstrators on May 1, charging them with hooliganism and disobeying lawful police orders.

Six police officers sustained injuries during the clashes.

Later that day, the Georgian parliament approved the “Foreign Agents” bill in its second reading.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine