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Two Americans and a Russian are among 20 detained at protest in Georgia

Two US citizens and a Russian were among 20 people detained in protests in Tbilisi as Georgian parliamentarians debated a bill on “foreign agents” that has provoked a political crisis, the Interior Ministry said on Monday (13 ).

The protesters were among thousands of opponents of the bill who heeded a call from Georgia's opposition to hold an all-night protest outside Parliament, with the intention of preventing lawmakers from entering the building on Monday. -fair.

However, parliamentarians managed to enter the Parliament building, where the judiciary committee – boycotted by opposition parties – formally approved the legislation in a one-minute session. The general assembly is expected to debate and approve the bill in its third and final reading on Tuesday (14).

The U.S. Embassy and Russian diplomatic representatives in Georgia did not immediately respond to requests for comment on their detained citizens. Russia does not currently have an embassy in Georgia due to a dispute between the countries over two separatist regions backed by Moscow.

Georgia's Interior Ministry wrote on Facebook that one of the US citizens was born in 1995, but did not provide further details.

Georgian media reported, citing witnesses, that police cleared protesters away from the service entrances of the Parliament building early on Monday, leading to some scuffles.

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze has vowed to push ahead with the bill despite it sparking some of the biggest protests seen in the South Caucasus nation since it gained independence from Moscow in 1991.

Western countries and Georgia's opposition classify the legislation as authoritarian and Russian-inspired. Critics compare it to Russia's 2012 “foreign agents” law, which has been used to persecute critics of Vladimir Putin's Kremlin.

The “foreign agents” bill requires organizations that receive more than 20% of their funding from abroad to register as agents of foreign influence or face fines. Georgia's ruling party says the law is needed to increase the transparency of NGO funding and protect the country from outside interference.

Source: CNN Brasil

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