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Violent Demonstration Against Georgia’s Parliament on Registering Foreign Influence

Protests in Tbilisi, Georgia, April 15, 2024

The attempt to repeat in the nation of Georgia what happened to Ukraine in 2014 is in full swing. Today, protesters assaulted police in an attempt to storm the parliament, and a lawmaker speaking in the legislature was violently punched in the face by an opposition lawmaker. The leader of the parliamentary majority Mamuka Mdinaradze was assaulted by the head of the “Citizens” party, Aleko Elisashvili.

The passions were aflame not over stopping war, feeding Gaza, or such matters. Mdinaradze was introducing a bill to require organizations that are funded from outside of Georgia to file a report of that fact. The requirement is not triggered until 20% of the organization’s funding is of foreign origin.

The bill, “On the Transparency of Foreign Influence,” is modeled after the 1938 U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act, however, it is a softer version, as it has no penalties. The opposition ignores that, calling it the “Russian law,” as Moscow took steps in 2012 to make transparent Western-influenced and/or Western-controlled operations within Russia.

Elisashvili, according to local media, called upon Georgians to follow his lead and take to the streets. He defended his assault, accusing the legislator of dragging Georgia into Russia. The top opposition official in Georgia, President Salome Zourabichvili, posted on X today that the actions outside the parliament were a “massive peaceful demonstration of civil society in Tbilisi against the ‘Russian law,’” and she denounced the police for using force against “civilians defending their European future. Georgia will not surrender to re-sovietization.” According to RT, the White House has claimed that the registration requirement, in RT’s words, “would undermine freedom of speech and hurt Georgia’s ties with the West.”