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Georgian premier describes protests in Tbilisi as ‘a provocation’

Georgia’s prime minister on Sunday described protests last week in the capital Tbilisi over a controversial bill on “foreign agents” as “a provocation” against the country.

In an interview with Imedi TV, Irakli Garibashvili said the two days of demonstrations were an act of violence.

Recalling that the country’s parliament dropped plans for the bill on Friday, Garibashvili added that the planned provocation attempts against his country were prevented.

The Georgian leader also slammed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s support for the demonstrations and Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko addressing the demonstrations in a video message.

The approval by parliament of a draft law on “Transparency of Foreign Influence” led to the demonstrations on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The bill required individuals, civil society organizations and media outlets to register with the Justice Ministry as “agents of foreign influence” if they receive at least 20% of their funds from abroad.

It imposed additional reporting requirements, inspections and administrative and criminal liability including up to five years in prison for any violations.

Demonstrators reacted strongly to the adoption of the bill, which was submitted by the People’s Power Party. Opposition parties argued that the law in question was anti-democratic.

Georgian lawmakers on Friday voted down the bill in a second reading after the proposed legislation triggered the mass protests.

*Writing by Seda Sevencan

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