Lawmakers fight in Georgian parliament during consideration of controversial law on "foreign agents"

Monday, 15 April 2024

An opposition lawmaker has had a fight with a representative of the ruling party at a meeting of the Legal Committee of the Georgian Parliament, where the controversial draft law "On Transparency of Foreign Influence" was being discussed.

According to Echo of the Caucasus, a Georgia-related project of Radio Liberty, as Mamuka Mdinaradze, a member of the Georgian Dream faction, was arguing with a representative of the opposition Lelo party, the leader of the Citizens faction, Aleko Elisashvili, reportedly approached him and punched him in the face.


Afterwards, the MPs left the hall and proceeded to fight in the corridor. 

Eventually, Elisashvili left the parliament and made an emotional comment to journalists, saying he had been kicked out of the building.

"I was tired of all this, and I punched this Russian agent in the face... I have always tried to communicate with the Georgian Dream humanly, but they are dragging us into Russia... This is not the time to sit at home, we need to take to the streets. We must kick them out along with their [pro-]Russian law," he said.

The incident reportedly caused a 30-minute break in the committee's meeting, after which it continued.

Resuming the discussion, the committee chairman, Anri Okhanashvili, urged the opposition forces and human rights activists to "assess the disgusting behaviour of this person" and promised a "strict response" to the provocations.

Mamuka Mdinaradze said that Elisashvili "snuck up on him like a thief" and that he acted "not like a man".

On 15 April, despite a wave of criticism from Western partners and outrage within the country, the Georgian parliament began discussing the controversial draft law On Transparency of Foreign Influence, which has been compared to the Russian law On Foreign Agents. It was reported that not all accredited journalists were allowed to attend the meeting.

A protest rally has gathered outside the parliament, and a large-scale action is also planned for the evening, arranged by non-governmental organisations.

The Georgian authorities had already tried to approve this project in the spring of 2023 but were forced to withdraw it under pressure from large-scale protests and the West's stance.

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