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Podgorica Protesters Give PM Six Days to Resign

Anti-government demonstrators say rallies will spread unless Montenegrin PM resigns and forms a transitional government by next Saturday.

Several thousand people continued to demonstrate in Podgorica on Sunday to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic’s administration.

Tensions were high as anti-government protesters gathered amid tight security following violent clashes on Saturday when riot police dispersed demonstrators.

The protest organisers, an alliance of several opposition parties calling itself the Democratic Front, promised fresh demonstrations across “the whole of Montenegro will come” if Djukanovic’s government doesn’t resign by next Saturday.

Opposition leaders have urged protesters to remain peaceful, saying it’s imperative they “do not fall for provocation and act with dignity”, as many fear further violence after several people threw stones at police officers, who then fired tear gas.

«We will not surrender, this is the real Montenegro,» opposition leader Nebojsa Medojevic told protestors chanting «victory, victory».

Another opposition official, Andrija Mandic, said that Djukanovic left the country by plane at 18.30pm on Sunday, but his party, the Democratic Party of Socialists, DPS, denied such claims.

The DPS accused the Democratic Front of trying to destroy the country’s «constitutional order and stop it in its aim of joining NATO”.

Unofficial police estimates say that around 5,000 people attended the rally at Podgorica’s main square but organisers claimed that around 10,000 demonstrators attended the rally to demand the government’s resignation and early elections.

The leaders of several opposition parties, NGOs and student organisations that had not previously supported the Democratic Fronts protests – which began at the end of September — also joined the anti-government demonstrations on Sunday.

Violence erupted Saturday morning and evening as riot police used tear gas to break-up the three-week protest and dismantle the opposition camp set up in front the parliament building.

The violent clashes between police and demonstrators sparked a new wave of mass anti-government demonstrations in Montenegro’s capital city Podgorica.

Police fired tear gas on Saturday to disband hundreds of protesters who have been calling for the government to resign and hold early elections amid allegations of corruption and electoral fraud.

At least three opposition leaders and several MPs were injured during the violence, which erupted when protesters tried to march toward the parliament headquarters.

Police said they arrested 15 people late on Saturday and that claimed four police officers had been injured after protesters «threw stones at the police, bottles and other objects, in a violent attempt to enter the parliament building».

However, Parliament Speaker Ranko Krivokapic said he was not informed that demonstrators intended to break into the assembly — as the police had claimed in a statement issued after violent clashes on Saturday — even though he was in constant communication with the Interior Minister Rasko Konjevic.

The 24-hour demonstration in Podgorica was launched in September, with protesters demanding the creation of an interim government to organise what they say would be Montenegro’s “first ever free and fair elections”.

The Democratic Front, joined by several civic and student organisations, accuses Djukanovic’s government of widespread corruption, undemocratic practices and election fraud.

The protest follows months of tension over the country’s new elections legislation which the majority of the opposition sharply criticised because they claim it would not provide for a fair vote in the general election set for spring 2016.


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