Georgia to vote on controversial law that sparked mass protests



Georgia’s parliament is expected to give final approval to a controversial “foreign agent” law that has sparked weeks of mass street protests.

Critics of the governing Georgian Dream party say the bill – which they call the “Russian law” – could be used to threaten civil liberties.

Protesters are also concerned that the legislation would derail Georgia’s hopes of joining the European Union.

But Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze has vowed the bill would pass.

On Monday, Mr Kobakhidze also warned that if authorities backed down at the bill’s third reading, Georgia would lose sovereignty and “easily share the fate of Ukraine”, without detailing what he meant.

Thousands of people gathered near the Georgian parliament on Tuesday morning to protest the expected imminent passage of the law.

Protesters heckled the police – clad in full riot gear – guarding the side entrances to the building. The atmosphere was tense inside the parliament too, with physical and verbal altercations taking place between pro-government and opposition MPs.

As she walked into the parliament building, President Salome Zourabichvili – an opponent of Mr Kobakhidze – told the BBC she would veto the law.

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