Georgia Protests: An Explainer

The former Soviet state of Georgia has been rocked by protests in the capital Tbilisi over a proposed law which critics say is a cover for increasing Russia’s hold on the country.

Russia already occupies around 20% of Georgian territory following its invasion in 2008, and the ruling Georgian Dream party is now trying to force media outlets and NGOs who receive funding from abroad to register as “an organisation serving the interests of a foreign power”.

UK foreign secretary David Cameron says the legislation is “Kremlin inspired” – a view backed by an estimated 200,000 demonstrators who have faced riot police using tear gas, stun grenades and water canon.

Georgia only secured its independence in 1991 and opinion polls suggest around 80% of the population is in favour of joining the European Union but the EU says if this law is passed there’ be no hope of that.

Alex Scrivener is the executive director of the Democratic Security Institute, a pro-democracy thinktank based in Tbilisi.

Produced in Birmingham by Adrian Goldberg and Harvey White.