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Fighting broke out in the Tbilisi Parliament

Fighting broke out in the Tbilisi Parliament

Chaotic scenes broke out amid a televised hearing in the Georgian parliament in the capital, Tbilisi, on Monday when Mamuka Medinaradze, the leader of the country's ruling Georgian Dream party – the Democratic Party of Georgia, was punched in the face by Aliko Iliashvili – who heads the opposition Citizens Party, he wrote. Watchman.

The fight broke out during the hearing About a controversial bill introduced by Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia. Under the proposal, independent organisations, media outlets and interest groups that receive more than 20 percent of their funding from abroad would either have to register as “foreign agents” – or be fined.

Critics described the proposal as “Russian law” and compared it to a set of laws that the Kremlin has implemented in recent years to tighten the grip on dissidents in Russia.

Ahead of Monday's session, hundreds of demonstrators also gathered to protest in front of the parliament building in Tbilisi, where a large European Union flag was raised amid a sea of ​​people.

– Either we are Georgians or slaves – and we are not. Medinaradze took a hit in the Russian stomach, Elisashvili told a group of journalists after the event, he wrote POLITICO.

Photograph: AFP/Shakh Eyvazov

For his part, Medinaradze accused Eliashvili For carrying out a “planned, and possibly paid, provocation” after the incident.

The quarrel also sparked a sharp altercation between a number of other deputies who were in the building.

The controversial bill, which was introduced 13 months ago but then rolled out after major protests, has not only faced criticism at home.

The proposal also led to increasing tension in the relationship between Georgia and the European Union – which in December granted Georgia candidate status, but later made clear that the law was not compatible with the Union's values.

Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Kobakhidze However, he stubbornly resisted the criticism and on Monday invited EU representatives, along with the British and US ambassadors, to a meeting to discuss the draft law.

Kobakhidze also defended the bill in a statement, calling it a tool to “enforce accountability” and saying it was “unclear” why Western countries were opposing it, The Guardian wrote.

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