More than 20,000 Georgians march 'for Europe' to protest controversial bill

Some 20,000 Georgians staged a "March for Europe" Sunday, calling on the government to scrap a controversial "foreign influence" bill which the EU has warned would undermine Tbilisi's European aspirations.

Georgians have been staging anti-government protests since mid-April, when the ruling Georgian Dream party reintroduced plans to pass a law critics say resembles Russian legislation used to silence dissent.

Waves of similar street protests, during which police used tear gas and water cannon against demonstrators, forced the party to drop a similar measure in 2023.

Police have again clashed with protesters during the latest rallies.

On Sunday evening, before staging what organisers called a "March for Europe," at least 20,000 people turned out at Tbilisi's central Republic Square, according to an estimate by French press agency AFP.

The kilometre-long procession, which featured a huge EU flag at its head, stretched out along Tbilisi's main thoroughfare towards parliament.

The Georgian Ministry of Interior said in a statement that the protest "took on a violent manner. Participants of the rally verbally and physically confront the law enforcement officers at the site." Police used tear gas to disperse the demonstrators.

But former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt, a co-chair at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said on social media that "the protests in Tbilisi against the new Russia-inspired so called foreign agents law certainly aren’t dying down."


"For the vast majority of the population, as well as for me, (this law) makes no sense.

(With newswires)

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