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Students In Georgia Walk Out As PM Vows To Pass ‘Foreign Agents’ Bill


Students in Georgia walked out of classes on Monday to protest the government’s “foreign agents” bill. They joined hundreds of protesters who are against the bill.

Vache Nikolaishvili, a 19-year-old student said it was crucial to voice their dissent. “When we have such a law, when we have such a government, there is no time for university.”

Protesters are protesting the bill for over a month now with huge crowds gathering on the streets. But Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze has stated that parliament will pass the bill on Tuesday. He said the draft law enjoyed wide support in the country.

The “foreign agents” bill requires organisations in Georgia to declare if they have received 20% or more from abroad.

Opponents say the bill can be used to crack down on opposition in the country.  They say it is similar to a law passed by President Putin.

The Kremlin has denied any association with the Georgian legislation.

The Georgian Dream party say that the legislation will enhance the transparency of NGO funding. It will protect the country from interference by Western powers.

The bill also threatens Georgia’s bid to join the EU.

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But the EU’s chief diplomat Josep Borrell said there will be no sanctions as of now.

“We are not there yet” on sanctions.

Kobakhidze has accused Western nations of “blackmail” when he was asked about sanctions by the EU. He said that party founder Ivanishvili was already under “de facto sanctions.”

He provided no evidence.

Polls show the majority of Georgia’s 3.7 million people back EU accession. Georgian Dream says it wants to join the bloc, as well as the NATO military alliance, despite its anti-Western rhetoric.

The Georgian government has detained twenty people at the protests on Monday. This includes two US citizens and one Russian national.