Thousands protest over Georgia’s ‘foreign agent’ bill: What it means

Sixty-six protesters in Georgia were detained and dozens of police injured after violent clashes in the capital Tbilisi against the government’s plan to introduce a controversial “foreign agent” law, officials said on Wednesday.

Protests erupted late Tuesday after lawmakers in the former Soviet Caucasus country voiced initial support for a draft law reminiscent of a Russian law used to pressure critics.

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“Law enforcement officers arrested 66 people under articles for minor hooliganism and disobeying legal requests of law enforcement officers,” the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

“As a result of the violent actions of the gathered citizens, more than 50 employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs were injured,” the statement said, “several law enforcement officers remained in the hospital.”

Georgian authorities have faced growing international criticism over alleged backsliding on democratic reforms, including the jailing of former leader Mikheil Saakashvili.

The US embassy in Georgia described the law as “Kremlin-inspired” and said it contradicted the country’s aspirations to join the European Union.

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