Parliament gave the draft law initial approval on Tuesday but tens of thousands of protesters then gathered outside parliament, and again on Wednesday. Some protesters threw petrol bombs, stones and plastic bottles at police.
At least one window in the parliament building was broken, and a police car was overturned. Police used tear gas, stun grenades and water cannon to disperse the crowds, and said that 77 people were arrested during Tuesday’s protest.
Opponents of the bill, including Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili, who said she would use her veto if it crossed her desk, have compared it to a 2012 Russian law, which has been used to clamp down on dissent. The Georgian government says the legislation is modelled on U.S. foreign agent laws, in place since the 1930s.
Georgia’s opposition has long criticized Georgian Dream for what it sees as excessive closeness to Moscow. Russia has backed separatists in the breakaway Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
The bill had angered supporters of Georgian membership in the European Union, after EU officials condemned the draft law, and said it would complicate Georgia’s path to joining the bloc. Last year, the European Union declined to grant Georgia candidate status alongside Moldova and Ukraine, citing stalled political and judicial reforms.