Georgia Dream Revives Its Stealth Attack on Tbilisi’s EU Aspirations

Georgia Dream Revives Its Stealth Attack on Tbilisi’s EU Aspirations
Demonstrators wave Georgian and EU flags as they protest a controversial “foreign agents” law outside the parliament building in Tbilisi, Georgia, April 17, 2024 (AP photo by Zurab Tsertsvadze).

Riot police clashed on Monday with thousands of protesters outside the parliament building in Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, while inside an opposition politician leapt out of his seat and punched a member of the ruling party in the face, unleashing a furious brawl on the floor of the legislature.

Georgia is in the midst of a pitched battle between the majority of the population, which wants to join the European Union and the democratic West, and the ruling Georgia Dream party, which has accumulated power and drawn closer to Russian President Vladimir Putin, even as it pretends it supports EU accession.

The sudden explosion of tensions came when Georgia Dream unexpectedly announced it was resuscitating an effort to pass a controversial “foreign agents” law it had withdrawn last year under pressure from massive protests. The opposition has disparagingly labeled the bill the “Russia Law,” but the ruling party claims it is needed to protect the country’s democracy.

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