Wild Brawl Breaks Out In Georgia Parliament Over Bill

The parliament in Tbilisi broke decorum in a dramatic way on Monday when a wild brawl erupted. A member of the body walked up to the podium where another MP was addressing the group and sucker-punched him from the side.

This led to a boisterous melee that spilled into the hallways as outraged politicians threw punches at one another.

The man who threw the first strike was opposition leader Aleko Elisashvili. The recipient of his haymaker was the leader of the ruling Georgian Dream Party, Mamuka Mdinaradze.

Skirmishes are not uncommon among Eastern European parliamentarians, though Monday’s dustup was a bit extreme even for this part of the world.

According to RedState, the U.S. has not had a bare knuckles fight in Congress since 1902. That was when the two senators from South Carolina engaged in fisticuffs in the Senate Chamber after one accused the other of “a willful, malicious and deliberate lie.”

The Georgian controversy was sparked by a contentious proposal to require civil organizations to openly state they are “pursuing the interests of a foreign power” or be punished if more than 20% of their funding originates from outside the country.

The so-called “foreign agent” bill received strong criticism from the U.S. and other Western nations. Critics charge it is inspired by Russia with the goal of suppressing dissent.

Georgia seeks to join the European Union, but the bill being considered by lawmakers was deemed incompatible with the E.U.

A gathering of an estimated 5,000 demonstrators gathered outside Georgia’s parliament building — constructed by its former Soviet occupiers — on Monday to protest while lawmakers raged inside.

Not without a trace of irony, many critics compared the new proposal to Kremlin-style crackdowns on dissidents before the Soviet Union collapsed.  

When law enforcement arrived to break up the demonstration, chants of “Russians! Russians!” rained down. It took water cannons to disperse the boisterous crowd. Officials reported 14 protesters were detained for violations and at least one officer sustained injuries.

Georgia’s largely ceremonial president, Salome Zourabichvili, posted his support for the gathering on X, formerly Twitter. He pledged “Georgia will not surrender to resovietisation!”

The same measure was defeated 13 months ago after widespread protests erupted. 


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