Georgia makes six delayed arrests after rallies against foreign agents bill, interior ministry says

By Thomson Reuters May 9, 2024 | 3:57 AM

TBILISI (Reuters) – Georgian authorities have arrested six people for assaulting police officers and causing damage at protests in recent weeks against a bill on “foreign agents”, the interior ministry said on Thursday.

The bill, which would require organisations receiving more than 20% of their funding from abroad to register as agents of foreign influence, has sparked huge protests in the South Caucasus country by demonstrators who see it as authoritarian and Russian-inspired.

Police have fired water cannon, tear gas and stun grenades to disperse crowds. Over a dozen people, including police officers, have been hospitalised.

The interior ministry said in a statement that the six people were arrested for damaging video surveillance equipment and throwing stones at police officers at rallies on April 16 and May 1.

The protests have subsided over the Orthodox Easter holidays but activists have called for a fresh wave of rallies starting on Saturday. Lawmakers are expected to vote on a third and final reading of the bill on Monday.

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne; writing by Lucy Papachristou; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)