Thousands rally in Tblisi against controversial law opposition says would obstruct EU membership

(15 Apr 2024)

Tbilisi – 15 April 2024
1. Wide of rally
2. Protesters holding signs, waving EU and Georgian flags
3. Close of sign reading (English): "No to Russia, yes to Europe"
4. Wide of rally, demonstrators cheering
5. Demonstrators chanting (Georgian): "No to Russian law"
6. Close of sign mocking Russian President Vladimir Putin
7. Speaker addressing rally
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Nika Gvaramia, chairman of political party Axali:
"For Georgian Dream (party), the one and only possibility to stay in government is the usurpation of power. They know that the place of usurpers is not in the European Union. Western democracy is not about the usurpation of power. The only place for them, for usurpers, is in the zone of influence of Russia. That’s why they are doing everything possible and impossible to be part of Russian influence, not the European Union. That’s very obvious to me and that is very obvious to the Georgian people, and it should be obvious for European countries and the United States of America. Georgian Dream is a pro-Russian government, and their place is in Russia. But the choice of the Georgian people and the historic choice of this country is absolutely different."
9. Demonstrators holding signs, left reading (English): "You are the ‘government,’ but we have the power!"
10. Demonstrators in square
11. SOUNDBITE (Georgian) David Gelashvili, student from Georgia:
"I was standing here (protesting) against this law last year and I am standing here today against this law. And every time when we will have the same problem and the same choice between Russian winter and Tbilisi spring, I will always choose Tbilisi spring."
12. People chanting UPSOUND (Georgian): "Georgia"
13. Various of protest
14. Wide of demonstrators in front of Parliament building
Thousands rallied in Georgia’s capital of Tbilisi on Monday against a draft law calling for media and non-commercial organisations to register as being under foreign influence if they receive more than 20% of their budget from abroad.

Opponents of the measure denounce it as “the Russian law” because it is similar to a law that Russia uses to stigmatise independent news media and organisations seen as being at odds with the Kremlin.

Its foes also say that passing the law would obstruct Georgia’s aim of joining the European Union, which issued the country long-desired candidate status last year.

The measure is nearly identical to a proposal that the governing Georgian Dream party was pressured to withdraw a year ago after large street protests.

"For Georgian Dream, the one and only possibility to stay in government is the usurpation of power. They know that the place of usurpers is not in the European Union," said Nika Gvaramia, the chairman of political party Axali.

The law would require non-commercial organisations and news media that receive 20% or more of their funding from overseas to register as “pursuing the interests of a foreign power.”

That phrase is the only change from the draft that was withdrawn last year, which said that relevant groups must register as “agents of foreign influence.”


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Author: admin