Georgia releases all detainees during rallies in Tbilisi
All 133 people who were detained during the rallies in Tbilisi over the bill on foreign agents were released. This was reported in the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia.
“All persons detained by various departments of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in accordance with the Code of Administrative Offenses during the protests on March 7 and 8 in the territory adjacent to the parliament have been released,” the statement said.
It is specified that some of the detainees were sent to court, the rest were released from the pre-trial detention center due to the expiration of their stay there. The Ministry of Internal Affairs also reported that the search for those who were involved in attacks on police officers during the protests continues.
Two drafts, On the Transparency of Foreign Influence and On the Registration of Foreign Agents, were submitted to the Georgian Parliament in February. According to the first version of the draft, it is proposed to assign the status of agents of foreign influence to non-governmental organizations and the media if more than 20% of their income comes from abroad. The second document refers to the assignment of this status not only to the media and organizations, but also to individuals.
Since March 7, protests have been held in Tbilisi against the backdrop of the adoption in the first reading of the bill on foreign agents. The document was criticized by Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili, who was in the US, and promised to veto it. After the demonstrations and clashes with the police in Tbilisi, as well as the forceful dispersal of the protesters, Zurabishvili supported the protesters in a video message to the Georgian people. Demonstrations and clashes with the police continued in Georgia on March 8 and on the night of March 9.
Today, March 9, the bill was withdrawn from Parliament. Despite this, the opposition promised to continue the protests. The bill was sharply criticized by the United States, which even threatened Georgia with sanctions, although the United States itself has a similar law.