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The Daily Beat: 24 April

Lazare Grgoriadis, 22, was released from prison on April 24 after President Salome Zurabishvili signed a pardon decree. Grigoriadis was sentenced to nine years imprisonment on charges of throwing a Molotov cocktail at riot police and setting the police car on fire during the March protests last year. Later in the evening, Lazare joined young protesters on Rustaveli Avenue.

Despite police warnings not to block streets, for the tenth day in a row, young people gathered in front of the Parliament building, blocking Rustaveli Avenue, marching through central streets, and chanting all the time— “We are heading to Europe! No to Russian Law!” The Georgian Gen-Z have persisted in rallying daily, even swearing a solemn oath to defend the country’s European choice.

Archbishop Zenon Iarajuli of Dmanisi and Agarak-Tashiri issuedstatement on the reintroduced Foreign Agents Bill, emphasizing that if the bill is passed, the non-commercial organizations of the Georgian Church will also be considered foreign agents and adding that the legislation threatens to stigmatize individuals and organizations, which is not only a violation of the Constitution but also of Christian values.

Yesterday’s hot debate at the European Parliament session has fueled the flurry of commentary from Georgian politicians. As five draft resolutions are tabled in Strasbourg for the vote scheduled for April 25, the ruling Georgian Dream party tries to brush aside the criticism and attacks MEPs, while the opposition hopes that mentioning sanctions will incite authorities to come to their senses and change the course. Here, has collected the reactions of Georgian politicians to the debate in the European Parliament.

Senior lawmakers of the ruling Georgian Dream party, including Speaker Shalva Papuashvili and ruling majority leader Mamuka Mdinaradze, continue a series of regional meetings to promote anti-LGBT legislation and in order to defend “traditional family values.” “While on board, some airliners announce – Dear passengers… – and this is not at all accidental,” said Anri Okahanshvili, Chair of the parliamentary legal affairs committee at one of those anti-LGBT gatherings.

The government issued a decree extending visa-free stays for Ukrainian citizens from two to three years. The decree would also be applied retroactively to those who entered Georgia earlier. The government administration clarified to that the extension is intended to enable Ukrainian citizens who have fled the war and are nearing the end of their two-year residency in Georgia to remain in the country legally.

Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze advertised the prospect of Tbilisi’s new international airport at the government session on April 8, appearing to be the government’s pet project of the election season. But Georgia’s military and security analysts say the controversial project would undermine Tbilisi’s defenses, deplete the army’s combat readiness, and effectively end one of the key NATO-Georgia projects.


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