Government in Georgia hangs by a thread because of the bill on foreign agents

And the very party that unleashed the war in 2008 is now leading a new assault on the Georgian parliament

A Maidan in Georgia had long been expected, since followers of former president Mikheil Saakashvili had been protesting there for years with or without cause. However, the sharp escalation at the March 7 rally was unexpected for many.

The reason for the rise in tension was that the ruling Georgian Dream party decided to make NGOs, NPOs and media outlets living on grants from abroad transparent. This turned out to be a red line, the violation of which by the Georgian authorities was not forgiven.

The protest began without any anomalies since the main protest rally was going to take place on the day when the parliament would vote on the bill. Suddenly it became known that it had already been passed in the first reading and could be adopted by the end of the day. After this, the situation began to sharply escalate.

First, the protesters blocked the “back entrance” of the parliament for the deputies. Special forces in helmets with batons and shields arrived on the spot. Police began to push back the crowd and eventually used tear gas and water cannons. The entrance was unblocked, but the protesters remained on the square in front of the parliament and the clashes continued. The crowd grew, and some started throwing Molotov cocktails and bricks at the police.

Georgian president Salome Zurabishvili, who is in the USA, after learning about the protests, canceled all meetings. She recorded a video message supporting the protesters and reminding them that she had promised to veto the bill if it was adopted by the parliament. Zurabishvili became president with the support of the Georgian Dream party, but has long favored the opposition. At the same time, in Georgia, the president’s veto has little weight, and it will only delay the bill’s adoption a little, as a veto can overcome a second vote in Parliament.

Georgia was sharply criticized in the United States. State Department spokesman Ned Price called the Georgian government corrupt and said Washington supports peaceful protesters.

Meanwhile, “peaceful” protesters continue to clash with police. One of the Molotov cocktails hit a window of the parliament and a fire broke out in the building. Also, the crowd began trying to break into the parliament from the front entrance. The metal fence that was there was torn down.

At the same time, the Chairman of the ruling party Irakli Kobakhidze called for peace. He promised that there would be no dispersal of protesters as in June 2019. Although Georgian Dream’s head threatened that the police would use “proportionate force.”

In general, until now, the Georgian Dream party had behaved quite sharply towards the West and stubbornly defended the national interests of Georgia. It seemed that they knew something that would guarantee their success. But the aggravation of the situation seems to have shaken the confidence of the ruling party, even four MPs of the ruling party voted against the bill on foreign agents.

Kobakhidze’s statement that there will be no repeat of 2019 does not add optimism either. At that time, the rioters who tried to break into parliament were dispersed quite harshly, with hundreds of victims. But then the situation in the country quickly stabilized. Will the authorities really backtrack now?

It is worth recalling that the seizure of the Parliament in Georgia in November 2003 led to a coup, which was called the Rose Revolution. Saakashvili and his United National Movement party had come to power. And it is this party, which unleashed the war in 2008, now leads a new assault on Parliament.

Source: Rossa Primavera News Agency