Students from Georgia's main universities announce mass strike to join anti-'Russian law' protests

Protest against the draft law on
Protest against the draft law on "foreign agents" in Tbilisi, Georgia, on May 13, 2024.

Students from Georgia's major universities announced a mass strike to join the protests against the 'Foreign Agents' bill, also known as the 'Russian law', Echo of the Caucasus (Radio Liberty) reported on May 12.

Instead of sitting in auditoriums, students from Georgia's major universities will stand against the 'Russian law' by staging a large-scale strike beginning on Monday (May 13), Radio Liberty said.

Read also: Georgia risks sliding into Russia’s orbit — opposition MP

Student movements from 12 universities, including Tbilisi State University and Batumi State University, have confirmed their participation in the strike.

Professors and teachers from some of these universities also plan to join the actions, Radio Liberty added.

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: ‘Will never be tolerated’ – Georgians will not allow a pro-Russian government – Georgian President

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: What’s going on with Georgia – opinion

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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