Helena Lyng Blak
3 weeks ago

Georgians in ‘March for Europe’ Against Controversial ‘Russian Law’

Amid rising political tensions, tens of thousands of Georgians rally in Tbilisi to oppose a contentious new law that echoes Kremlin policies, demanding a definitive pivot towards Europe.
Tbilisi, Georgia - 25th february, 2021: Hundred years anniversary event on Tbilisi. Protestors by parliament building on anniversary event. — Photo by evaldas.lp@gmail.com
Tbilisi, Georgia - 25th february, 2021: Hundred years anniversary event on Tbilisi. Protestors by parliament building on anniversary event. — Photo by evaldas.lp@gmail.com

On Sunday, April 28, 2024, roughly 20,000 of Georgian citizens took to the streets of Tbilisi.

The march, named ‘March for Europe’, protested a proposed ‘foreign influence’ bill, which critics have dubbed the ‘Russian law’.

The bill would require media and non-commercial organizations who receive more than 20% of their financing from other countries to register as ‘foreign agents’, Reuters reports. It is similar to a Russian 2012 bill with comparable requirements, which, according to Danmarks Radio, has been used to forcefully close media critical of the Russian government as well as NGOs. 

"I think that now we have the most important and crucial fight. Either we save our country and maintain our European path, or we lose our homeland," said protester Ana Subeliani according to Euronews, "But this energy and faith, the number of youngsters here, gives me hope that we will have victory at the end."

Political tensions have generally been rising in Georgia.

Just two weeks ago a brawl broke out between multiple lawmakers during a debate in the nation’s parliament.

It happened when member of the opposition Aleko Elisashvili decided to punch majority leader Mamuka Mdinaradze, because the former considered the latter to be “pro-Russian”.

Georgia applied for membership of the European Union in March, 2022, and was granted ‘candidate status’ in December, 2023, with the understanding that Georgia will take actions on nine steps outlined by the European Commission in November, 2023.

The steps include fighting misinformation and information interference against the EU, addressing national political polarization, and improving Georgia’s alignment with EU foreign and security policy.

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