Parliament Descends Into Chaos As Fists Fly

( – A widespread brawl took place in Georgia’s parliament on April 15 after opposition congressman Aleko Elisashvili brutally punched the parliamentary faction leader of the government’s party, Georgian Dream, Mamuka Mdinaradze, during a debate. The main discussion at the parliament was the controversial bill on “foreign agents,” which experts and political leaders in Europe have labeled as authoritarian.

Over the last few weeks, the Georgian opposition has claimed that such a law would “destroy” the country’s democracy and turn it into a “vigilant dictatorship” like Russia or Belarus. Countries such as Estonia and Ukraine have said that the legislation seemed to be imported from Russia’s Kremlin as it would force media outlets to register themselves as foreign agents if they received over 20 percent of their budget from abroad.

In numerous videos that eventually became viral on social media, Elisasvhili can be seen punching Mdinaradze in the chin. This provoked a widespread melee between opposition parliamentarians and their government counterparts. The incident happened live on air, which prompted Elisashvili’s supporters to gather outside the building.

While there weren’t violent clashes between his supporters and police authorities, most of them cheered the opposition leader and yelled anti-government chants. Local reports revealed that the Georgian opposition is preparing a massive demonstration against the law, which the European Union has labeled as a significant threat to the country’s chances of becoming part of the bloc shortly.

In 2023, thousands of Georgians took to the streets to express their disagreement against an identical measure proposed by the government, which would consider media outlets and politicians that received money from abroad as foreign agents. While the government initially said that the law would be approved “no matter what,” it eventually canceled it as the protests grew larger every day.

The government has repeatedly said that the bill is crucial to protect the country from what they refer to as “pseudo-liberal values” that foreign powers want to “impose.”

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