Georgian Interior Ministry warned protesters

Georgian Interior Ministry warned protesters
# 14 May 2024 18:40 (UTC +04:00)

The Georgian Interior Ministry on Tuesday called on participants of an ongoing public protest against the controversial domestic bill on transparency of foreign influence in the country’s capital Tbilisi to “express protest in peaceful forms”, APA reports citing Agenda.ge.

The Ministry said law enforcement officers were mobilised near the Parliament building to “protect public order” and added “all violations of the law will be followed by appropriate response from police”.

The red level of security activated in the Parliament beginning today at 5 pm, after the legislative body on Tuesday adopted the draft law reintroduced by the ruling Georgian Dream party on the backdrop of the ongoing public protests.

The body claimed the protests in the vicinity of the legislative body had gone “beyond the norms established by the law on peaceful assembly and demonstration and continued in a violent manner”.

It added participants of the rally had damaged protective steel barriers near the building and “ignored legal demands of police noted despite multiple appeals” by law enforcement.

It also said the law enforcement had “applied special means provided by the legislation” to “restore public order”.

The Public Defender (Ombudsman) of Georgia has issued a call to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, urging them not to use special means against the peaceful participants of the rally and to respect their constitutional right to assembly.

The protests are being held against the legislative piece which calls for the registration of non-commercial legal entities and media outlets in the country as “pursuing the interests of a foreign power” if they derive more than 20 percent of their funding from abroad.

It requires groups “considered to be an organisation pursuing the interests of a foreign power” to be registered in the public registry with the status and publicise their received funding.

The draft law was supported by 84 MPs in the 150-member lawmaking body on Tuesday, with 30 voting against.

President Salome Zourabichvili on Sunday said she would veto the bill, however the ruling party has enough votes to override her veto in the Parliament.

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