U.S. Says 'Stands With Georgian People'

U.S. Says 'Stands With Georgian People'

The United States on Wednesday strongly condemned the violence against protesters in Georgia, who have been peacefully demonstrating against the Kremlin-inspired law on foreign influence, and made it clear that it's 'standing with Georgian people', TURAN's Washington correspondent reports.

"We are concerned by the escalating rhetoric and tone directed towards civil society and opposition parties" a State Department spokesperson said in response to TURAN's inquiry for comment. "This is not how an EU-aspirant country behaves, and this is another example of Georgia de-railing from its Euro-Atlantic trajectory"

Riot police in Tbilisi fired tear gas and water cannons into crowds as tens of thousands were waving Georgian and EU flags gathered outside parliament for a second night to protest what they see as a Russian-inspired law.

The Georgian Dream government insisted the bill was about ensuring "transparency" and rejected the notion that it is against European values. Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze waa quoted on Wednesday as accusing NGOs of attempting to "stage revolutions" in Georgia "twice", of promoting "gay propaganda" and of attacking the Georgian Orthodox Church.

In a separate statement Wednesday evening, Spokesperson Mathew Miller noted that members of Georgia's ruling party have been clear that the intent of the law is to silence critical voices and destroy Georgia’s vibrant civil society, which serves as a critical check on government in any democratic nation.

"This legislation and Georgian Dream’s anti-Western rhetoric put Georgia on a precarious trajectory. The statements and actions of the Georgian government are incompatible with the democratic values that underpin membership in the EU and NATO and thus jeopardize Georgia's path to Euro-Atlantic integration. Comments mischaracterizing foreign assistance in Georgia – which we have provided for 32 years to strengthen Georgia’s economy, democracy, and ability to deter Russian aggression – fundamentally undermine the strong relationship we have developed with the government and people of Georgia," Miller noted.

He went on to conclude, "We stand with the Georgian people and their right to have their voices heard.  We condemn the use of violence against peaceful protests, including against journalists covering the demonstrations.  Use of force to suppress peaceful assembly and freedom of speech is unacceptable, and we urge authorities to allow non-violent protesters to continue to exercise their right to freedom of expression."

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