Georgian lawmakers tussle in parliament after crackdown on foreign agent protesters 

TBILISI — Georgian lawmakers tussled in parliament on Wednesday as lawmakers resumed debating the second reading of a bill on “foreign agents” that has sparked weeks of protest, and a violent police crackdown on Tuesday.

Georgian television showed commotion in the chamber. One pro-government deputy was seen throwing a book at opposition legislators, while others shouted and physically confronted opponents. The foreign agent bill has prompted an upsurge of violence in Georgia’s often-rowdy parliament.

Georgian security forces used water cannon, tear gas and stun grenades against protesters outside parliament late on Tuesday, sharply escalating the crackdown after lawmakers debated the “foreign agents” bill viewed by the opposition and Western nations as authoritarian and Russian-inspired.

During the protests in Tbilisi Tuesday, police detained 63 people and six police officers were injured, Deputy Interior Minister Aleksandre Darakhvelidze said.

Levan Khabeishvili, leader of the United National Movement party, Georgia’s largest opposition bloc, spoke in parliament on Wednesday with his face heavily bandaged. His party said he was badly beaten by police at the protest, leaving him with concussion, broken facial bones, and missing four teeth.

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell wrote in a post on X on Wednesday: “I strongly condemn the violence against protesters in Georgia who were peacefully demonstrating against the law on foreign influence.”

The EU, which gave Georgia candidate status in December, has said the bill could derail Tbilisi’s hopes of European integration if passed.

Supporters of the bill, including Bidzina Ivanishvili, the billionaire founder of the ruling Georgian Dream party and former prime minister, say the foreign agent law would bolster national sovereignty amid what he said were Western attempts to lead Georgia into a confrontation with Russia.

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