Street clashes erupt in Georgia as pro-Russian government cracks down on press

STREET clashes erupted in former Soviet state Georgia today amid fears of another Vladimir Putin power grab. Its pro-Russian government is pushing through new laws cracking down on press freedom. About 50,000 protesters tried to block the law which could undermine any attempt to join the EU and pull the nation closer to Putin....CONTINUE READING THE ARTICLE FROM THE SOURCE

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Ruling party MPs were met with jeers of “slaves” and “Russians” as they arrived at parliament to pass the legislation.

Snatch squads of police rushed into crowds to beat and arrest demonstrators in capital Tbilisi.

The protests failed to stop lawmakers rushing the Big Brother legislation through a committee vote this morning in just 67 seconds.

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Freedom campaigners say the controversial foreign influence bill – which targets organisations and independent media which receive foreign funding – is based on Putin laws.

Two US citizens and one Russian were reported to be among 20 people arrested at protests.

The EU granted Georgia – which borders Russia – candidate status to join the bloc in December, but has warned the new law could jeopardise the bid.

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Russian forces occupy around 20 per cent of Georgia’s internationally recognised territory and the ruling Georgian Dream party wants closer ties with Moscow.

A final vote on the new legislation is due to take place amid more unrest on Wednesday.