Georgian lawmakers throw punches in parliament

A huge punch-up has erupted in Georgia’s parliament over a controversial foreign influence law.

The massive brawl occurred inside the Georgian Parliament on Monday, during heated discussions over a law deemed Russian-esque by critics.

The legislation under debate will compel media and non-commercial organizations to register as being under foreign influence if they receive more than 20 per cent of their budget from abroad.

Hundreds of protesters have been rallying outside the Parliament while it discussed the law in the juridical committee.

Mamuka Mdinaradze, the head of the Georgian Dream Party faction, was punched in the face while giving a speech by MP Alexander Elisahsivili.

Elisahsivili accused Mdinaradze of being pro-Russian.

Opponents of the law denounce it as ‘the Russian law’ because it is similar to legislation Russia uses to stigmatize independent news media and organizations opposing the Kremlin.

Its critics also say that passing the law would obstruct Georgia’s aim of joining the European Union, which issued the country’s long-desired candidate status last year.

The proposed law is similar to one that the governing Georgian Dream party was pressured to withdraw a year ago after large street protests.

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