Tens of thousands of Georgians occupied the main thoroughfare of the capital, Tbilisi, for the second night in a row Wednesday, holding EU flags and posters protesting a Russian-style draft law that would label some nongovernmental groups and media outlets “foreign agents.” The law is seen as an attempt to suppress civil society and amplify the government’s propaganda that Western partners are not acting in the interests of Georgians.
Some protesters stormed the barricades in front of the Parliament, overturned police cars and blocked the streets. Young people were seen dancing and singing in front of riot police.
Authorities have been using water cannons and tear gas against demonstrators, many of whom they have also arrested. Despite attempts to clear the streets, protesters kept going back until dawn.
After the backlash, the government decided Thursday to withdraw the controversial bill, stating that “as the emotional background subsides, we will better explain to the public what the bill was for and why it was important to ensure transparency of foreign influence in our country.” Protests are nevertheless set to continue for a third night. [Continue reading…]