On Tuesday morning, the Georgian Parliament announced it would hold the first hearing of the foreign agent draft law on Thursday, but announced shortly after that morning's protesters had dispersed that the hearing of the law would take place the same day instead.
The foreign agent law was widely condemned domestically and internationally as a Russian-style law that threatens Georgia’s democracy and Euro-Atlantic prospects.
Crowds flocked to parliament almost immediately after the announcement, moving to Rustaveli Avenue, Tbilisi’s main thoroughfare, around 17:00.
Tens of thousands could be heard chanting ‘Putin khuylo’ (Putin is a dick) and ‘monebo’ (slaves) in front of parliament as the first version of the foreign agent law passed its first plenary hearing. Riot police started to appear as the voting began.
While shouts and boos greeted the announcement, protesters remained in the streets well into the night, despite attempts by police to disperse them with pepper spray and water cannons.
Shortly before midnight, as protesters continued to show no signs of leaving, riot police began to fire tear gas at those gathered by parliament.
Crowds dispersed briefly, but returned as soon as the chemical weapon had settled.
Rather than leaving the area, protesters instead got closer to parliament, taking down barricades in front of the building’s main entrance and raising chants through a loudspeaker system.
Some of those standing on the building’s facade threw rocks at parliament, while a couple of protesters are reported to have launched petrol bombs at riot police.
At around 01:00 in the morning, large numbers of riot police closed in on the gathered protesters as the crowds were heavily teargassed.
Demonstrators dispersed, with many seeking shelter behind and within Kashveti Church, but returned to Rustaveli Avenue shortly afterwards, in a back-and-forth that continued into the early hours of the morning. At around 4:00 am, police began to detain some of those remaining.