Published: 20/05/2024

Widespread protests continue in Georgia against a draconian bill known as “the Russian Bill” (because of its similarity to legislation adopted in Russia in 2012) which would force NGOs, civil rights groups and media organizations to register as “foreign agents” if more than 20% of their funding comes from abroad. Protesters fear that the law could be used to smash the opposition ahead of the election scheduled for later in 2024.

IUF affiliate Georgian Agriculture, Commercial and Industry Workers’ Trade Union (GACIWU) fears that the bill, if it becomes law, will undermine democracy and stop the effective functioning of trade unions and civil society organizations.

  • The draft law was introduced in March 2023 and sparked massive protests inside Georgia and widespread international condemnation which forced the authorities to shelve the bill even though it had gone through its first reading; however, it has re-appeared and is about to go through its second reading
  • GACIWU is a member of the organizing committee of the protests and has committed its resources to supporting the demonstrations and information campaigns against the bill, to ensure that workers are properly informed and can be involved in the actions
  • The Government is trying to stop the peaceful protests and over two nights, the police have used tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets and water cannons to disperse protesters; despite this, the protests have not stopped, daily rallies are held in different locations, and GACIWU reports that “we block the roads and paralyze the city, we try to be everywhere where our voice needs to be heard”

GACIWU is appealing for resources and support, underscoring “their importance for the democratic future of Georgia so that Georgia can continue the chosen course and become a member of the European Union.”

We block the roads and paralyze the city, we try to be everywhere where our voice needs to be heard.
GACIWU statement