PROTESTERS in the small ex-Soviet state of Georgia threw petrol bombs and stones at police on Tuesday (March 7) night after parliament gave its initial backing to a draft law on "foreign agents" which critics say represents an authoritarian shift.
Police in the center of the capital Tbilisi used water cannon and tear gas in attempting to disperse thousands of demonstrators, who fear the draft law could hurt the South Caucasus country's hopes of European Union membership.
The law, backed by the ruling Georgian Dream party, would require any organizations receiving more than 20% of their funding from overseas to register as "foreign agents," or face substantial fines.
Critics have said it is reminiscent of a 2012 law in Russia that has since been used to crack down on dissent.
Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili, who wants to veto the law it if crosses her desk, said she was on the side of the protesters.
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