After widespread protests, Georgia in the South Caucasus withdrew a controversial bill introducing a register for "foreign agents". This was announced by the ruling party Georgian Dream on Thursday in the capital Tbilisi.
Critics have accused the government of having drawn up the planned law based on the Russian model and paving the way for an authoritarian orientation in Georgia. They also saw the EU prospects of the former Soviet republic in danger. There was also international criticism.
"We see that the draft law has led to differences of opinion in society," said the Georgian Dream party. "In light of all of this, we (...) have decided to withdraw the bill we have supported without reservation."
Police used violence against demonstrators
Several thousand people have gathered on the streets of Tbilisi in recent days for the anti-government and pro-European protests. The police repeatedly used violence against them, using tear gas and water cannons. There were also arrests.
In Russia, numerous independent media - but also non-governmental organizations - are branded as "foreign agents". The regulation has been criticized internationally as a politically motivated measure aimed at stigmatizing and silencing critics of the Kremlin. Especially since the start of the war of aggression against Ukraine ordered by President Vladimir Putin more than a year ago, Russia has been taking massive action against dissidents in its own country.
Message from Georgian Dream