Protests erupted in Tbilisi, Georgia in March 2023 after the parliament backed a proposed law on “foreign agents.” The law could limit the influence of organizations receiving more than 20% of their funding from overseas or subject them to significant fines, leading to concerns that it could stifle dissent and discourage foreign investment. Critics have compared the law to a similar one in Russia and fear that it could harm Georgia’s ties to the European Union, which the country seeks to strengthen. During the protests, police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the demonstrators. The President of Georgia has publicly supported the protestors, throwing doubt on the bill’s chances of success. At this point, it remains to be seen what the protesters will achieve in terms of the proposed law.
Demonstrations began in the capital city of Tbilisi when the government announced plans to sell the state power plant to a foreign investor without a transparent bidding process. This decision was perceived as yet another example of the ruling party’s cronyism and lack of accountability.
The protests quickly spread to other cities and regions, with thousands of people taking to the streets demanding fair and free elections, an end to government corruption, and higher living standards. The protesters were a diverse group of people, including students, intellectuals, trade unions, and opposition political parties.
At first, the government tried to suppress the rallies, using riot police and water cannons to disperse the crowds. However, the protests continued to grow and gain momentum, with more and more people joining in every day.
As the protests intensified, the government was forced to negotiate with the opposition and civil society groups to find a way out of the crisis. In the end, a compromise was reached and new elections were called, with the process monitored by international observers to ensure fairness and transparency.
The rallies in Georgia in 2023 were a turning point for the country, paving the way for democratic reforms and a more accountable government. The voice of the people was heard, and they were able to achieve real change through peaceful and persistent protests.