Montenegro Demonstrators Arested
Posted by franksupa on October 16, 2008
15 October 2008 Podgorica_Montenegrin police say they will charge 34 people in relation to rioting that broke out after an opposition rally against the government’s decision to recognize Kosovo.
The 34 men will be charged with “violent behavior”. The clashes left 37 people injured, including 26 policemen, police spokeswoman Tamara Popovic said. She accused opposition leaders of pouring oil on troubled waters by going ahead and organizing the rally.
About 10,000 people joined the protest in the capital, Podgorica, denouncing the decision of Milo Djukanovic’s government as a “stab in the back” to Serbia.
Protesters chanted “Treason! Treason!” and “Kosovo is Serbia!”, as opposition speakers gave Prime Minister Djukanovic a 48-hour deadline to annul the move, call a referendum on the issue, or call early elections.
That deadline expired at noon Wednesday. Nothing unusual took place in the Montenegrin capital after the deadline passed, though a parliamentary session and a special meeting between deputies and the Prime Minister was delayed for unspecified reasons.
Kosovo remains a sensitive issue in Montenegro, where about one-third of the population declare themselves as Serbs. Ethnic Albanians make up around 7 per cent of the population. Montenegro was also in a loose federation with Serbia until a referendum on independence in 2006.
Podgorica recognized Kosovo’s independence on October 9, leading Serbia to expel the Montenegrin ambassador.
Montenegro’s decision came just a day after the UN General Assembly voted in favor of a Serbian request for the International Court of Justice to render an opinion on the legality of Kosovo’s unilaterally declared independence.