Georgia’s governing party announced it is withdrawing a draft law from parliament that would have required media and non-governmental organizations to register as “agents of foreign influence” if more than 20 percent of their funding came from foreign sources.
Opponents argued the bill was inspired by a similar law in Russia that’s used to silence critics and could hinder Georgia’s aspirations of one day joining NATO and the European union. Protests against the bill began last week in the capital, but became more intense in recent days and were met with tear gas and water cannons. Tens of thousands of protestors took to the streets to voice their concerns.
This triggered the governing Georgian Dream Party and its allies to withdraw the proposed law. But that process might be complicated since the bill already passed its first of three required readings. Protests resumed Thursday evening, with thousands demonstrating to ensure the bill is actually abandoned as well as the release of those arrested.