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Georgia passes controversial ‘foreign agents’ bill despite widespread opposition

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Georgia’s parliament has passed a controversial “foreign agents” bill despite widespread domestic opposition and warnings from the European Union that its enactment would imperil the country’s chances of joining the bloc.

The new law will require organizations receiving more than 20% of their funding from abroad to register as “agents of foreign influence” or face crippling fines. Opponents say that the legislation was modeled after similar laws in Russia that the Kremlin has used to increasingly snuff out opposition and civil society.

Many Georgians fear their foreign agents bill will be used the same way in their country. Nightly protests have shut down Tbilisi, the capital, for about a month.

Georgian Dream, the ruling party that pushed through the legislation, has hit back at criticism, saying the move will promote transparency and national sovereignty.

This is a developing story. More details to come.

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