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McLean, VA, May 11, 2024 – Students For Liberty, the largest international pro-liberty student organization in the world, issued a statement today on the growing violence in Tbilisi, Georgia, involving peaceful protesters who are members of Students For Liberty. 

The protests started on May 7th due to a proposed law designed to erode the sovereignty of the Georgian people and keep them under the thumb of the Russian government.

In recent years, the Georgian people have made steady progress in fighting for liberty and the rule of law. This new law, however, reverses this progress and threatens the future of freedom in Georgia. It does so by placing significant restrictions on media outlets, NGOs, and other non-profit organizations working in the country. The law, being called the “Foreign Agents” Bill, would authorize the Georgian government to surveil organizations promoting the ideas of freedom and democracy. In addition, the government party that proposed this law has launched a campaign of violence and intimidation against peaceful protesters, activists, and employees of the organizations they seek to surveil. 

In a context with over 100,000 people protesting, many have been injured by tear gas or pepper spray. Others have been beaten and unlawfully detained, and more still have experienced a wave of threats to their own lives and the lives of their families. 

Elizabeth Tsereteli, European Programs Associate at SFL and resident of Georgia, stated:

“The pro-government media has been sharing voice clips from LibertyCon Europe, a recent Students For Liberty event that took place in the capital city of Tbilisi, as ‘secret material’ that they gained, framing it as a destructive foreign force and claiming it is a conference of radicals with destructive forces, whose finances are from unknown sources.”

This misrepresentation of SFL increases our alarm regarding the situation.

In the midst of these protests, we declare our unwavering support for the people of Georgia and for the volunteers and employees of Students For Liberty who, at this very moment, are fighting for their freedom against their government’s authoritarian objectives. 

Students For Liberty stands in solidarity with those individuals who have been violently assaulted by the pro-Russian government forces because of their stance on the issue — Dimitri Chikovani, Gia Japaridze (a frequent speaker at SFL events in Georgia), Lasha Ghviniadze, Boris Chele Kurua (an alumnus of SFL), and Nodar Chachanidze — a list that is growing quickly.

As a community, we denounce any government violence that threatens the rule of law, goes against freedom of expression and association, violates democratic principles, and hinders Georgia’s road to a freer future. 

Elizabeth Tsereteli, the European Programs Associate at SFL, can be reached directly at [email protected] for any comments or questions regarding details on the ground in Tbilisi. 

About Students For Liberty

SFL is the largest pro-liberty student organization in the world with students active in over a hundred countries on every inhabited continent. With a multi-million dollar budget and over 80 full-time staff members, they serve pro-liberty students in their pursuit to become leaders of liberty. They accomplish this through a strategy of identifying the top students and then empowering them to be agents of change in their communities. Last school year, their students organized over 2,591 events with 157,654 people in attendance. They are a fully virtual, vibrant, and entrepreneurial organization working with a diverse team in the U.S. and around the world.

Brian S. Lambrecht
Students For Liberty
[email protected]

Students For Liberty is the largest pro-liberty student organization in the world.

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