Georgia Lawmakers brawl as parliament considers controversial bill

Lawmakers in Georgia have come to blows inside parliament as ruling party legislators appeared likely to advance a bill on “foreign agents” that has been criticised by Western countries and has caused protests at home as “pro-Russia”.

Footage broadcast on Georgian television showed Mamuka Mdinaradze, leader of the ruling Georgian Dream party’s parliamentary faction and a driving force behind the bill, being punched in the face on Monday by opposition MP Aleko Elisashvili while speaking before the legislative body.

Tensions in parliament have bubbled up in recent years as the ruling party and the opposition have debated whether to deepen relations with the West or reconnect the former Soviet republic with Russia.

Russia is widely unpopular in Georgia due to Moscow’s support of the breakaway Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Russia also defeated Georgia in a short war in 2008.

The incident on Monday prompted a wider brawl between several lawmakers, an occasional occurrence in the often raucous Georgian Parliament.



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