On Wednesday, the United States urged the Tbilisi government to permit peaceful protests in support of widespread demonstrations against a draft law on foreign funding of opposition groups that was inspired by Russia.
Ned Price, a spokesman for the State Department, told reporters, “We urge the government of Georgia to respect the freedom of peaceful assembly and peaceful protests,” calling for “restraint” on all sides.
“We support the aspirations of the Georgian people and stand with them.”
The legislative proposal, which Georgian police claim is modeled after a Russian law that has been used to silence dissident groups, drew thousands of protesters, who were met with fire from water cannons and tear gas.
Protesters worry that the former Soviet republic, which wants to join NATO and the EU, will take an authoritarian turn.
The bill “threatens Georgia’s future in the Euro-Atlantic,” according to Price.
He stated, “We are concerned that the passage of such legislation would have consequences for our ability to continue to be the strategic partner that we have sought to be for Georgia and the people of Georgia over the course of decades.
Earlier, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who is fending off an invasion by the Russians, expressed his support for the demonstrators.