Fri. May 31st, 2024

European country ‘in chaos’ as protesters threaten to overthrow government

Jamie Roberts By Jamie Roberts May28,2024

The ruling party in Georgia, Georgian Dream, mobilised thousands of supporters from various parts of the country to counter the waves of anti-government protests that have rocked the capital, Tbilisi, since mid-April.

The protests were sparked by the reintroduction of a bill that critics argue bears resemblance to Russian legislation aimed at stifling dissent.

The proposed legislation, denounced by the European Union, has been met with widespread condemnation. Critics fear it could undermine Georgia’s aspirations for EU membership, a goal supported by the majority of the population.

Sunday witnessed a significant turnout as approximately 20,000 people joined a “March for Europe” in Tbilisi, denouncing the bill and advocating for democratic values.

However, on Monday, the ruling party orchestrated a counter rally outside parliament, with reports emerging that government employees were coerced into attending.

Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili condemned the move, likening it to tactics reminiscent of authoritarian regimes. Images circulated on Georgian television depicted people being transported to Tbilisi in buses affiliated with Georgian Dream, raising concerns about the authenticity of the support garnered by the ruling party.

In a rare appearance, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, widely perceived as wielding significant influence within Georgian politics, defended the bill, claiming it aimed to increase transparency in the funding of civil groups.

However, critics argue that the proposed legislation could stifle dissent and undermine democratic principles.

Protests have not been confined to Tbilisi, as demonstrations were reported in other cities such as Batumi and Zugdidi. Clashes between police and protesters have marred the rallies, reminiscent of similar unrest that occurred last year, prompting Georgian Dream to abandon similar legislation.

The EU has reiterated its concerns, stressing that the bill could hamper Georgia’s progress towards EU membership. Despite being granted official candidate status, Georgia faces significant hurdles, including the need for judicial and electoral reforms, press freedom, and reducing political polarisation.

As the nation teeters on the brink of political upheaval, the fate of Georgia’s democratic future hangs in the balance, with protesters determined to defend their rights and resist any attempts to erode democratic norms.

Jamie Roberts

By Jamie Roberts

Jamie is an award-winning investigative journalist with a focus on uncovering corruption and advocating for social justice. With over a decade of experience in the field, Jamie's work has been instrumental in bringing about positive change in various communities.

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2 thoughts on “European country ‘in chaos’ as protesters threaten to overthrow government”
  1. Do the protesters in Georgia have any specific demands beyond denouncing the bill? What are the potential implications of this proposed legislation on the country’s political landscape?

  2. It’s concerning to see the ruling party resorting to such manipulative tactics to push through controversial legislation. The people’s voices must be heard and respected in a true democracy.

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