Georgia's ruling party stages mass rally to counter anti-government protests

Georgia's ruling party bussed in thousands of people from across the country on Monday for a rally in the capital aimed at countering days of mass anti-government protests over a controversial "foreign influence" bill.

The Black Sea Caucasus nation has been gripped by mass anti-government protests since mid-April, when the ruling Georgian Dream party reintroduced plans to pass a law that critics say resembles Russian legislation used to silence dissent.

The European Union has said that, if adopted, the proposed legislation would undermine Tbilisi's long-standing bid for EU membership.

The latest demonstration against the measure saw some 20,000 people gather on Sunday in a kilometre-long "March for Europe" in the capital Tbilisi.

On Monday evening, thousands of people congregated outside parliament in a rally organised by the ruling party, amid widespread reports that government employees were being forced to attend.

"Today, a 'Putintype' action: civil servants bussed to Tbilisi to applaud ruling party's decisions," Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili -- who is at loggerheads with the ruling party -- said on X, formerly Twitter.


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