Chaos enveloped Georgia’s parliament Monday over a controversial new law as the session erupted into a full-fledged brawl, Reuters reported.
The law, which is designed to crack down on foreign agents operating within the country, has received criticism for being modeled after similar legislation that opponents of the bill have categorized as draconian, Reuters reported. Video from the parliamentary chamber in the capital, Tbilisi, allegedly showed the chairman of the legal affairs committee punching the leader of one of Georgia’s opposition parties, the United National Movement, Reuters reported. Once the first punch was thrown, other lawmakers entered into the skirmish and began striking one another. (RELATED: 20 Journalists Injured By Anti-LGBT Protesters)
Brawl breaks out in Georgia’s parliament over the “foreign agent” law being backed by the ruling party.
At the same time, a protest against the law was held in front of the parliament building under the flags of Georgia and the EU. pic.twitter.com/vrLw95WTty
— Matrix Memez ???? (@MatrixMemez) March 6, 2023
Last week, protesters entered into a committee hearing on the bill. That demonstration elicited a similar reaction among the country’s lawmakers, Reuters previously reported.
Criticism for the the law is not limited to members of Georgia’s opposition parties alone. Over 60 media outlets and civil society groups announced that they would not comply with the foreign agent law if it were to be passed, Reuters reported. If passed, the law would require organizations receiving more than 20% of their funding from overseas sources to register as foreign agents, according to U.S. News and World Report. Those registered as foreign agents would face mandatory surveillance from Georgia’s justice ministry or be subject to fines. (RELATED: DeSantis’ Spokeswoman Registers As Foreign Agent)
Despite how contentious the proposed legislation has made parliamentary proceedings, all the chaos may be much ado about nothing. Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili assured her supporters that she would veto the bill if passed, Reuters reported. However, with enough support that veto can be overridden by the ruling faction of the Georgian Parliament.