Anti-NATO rally in Montenegro

On December 2, Montenegro received an invitation to become the 29th member of NATO. The government called it a “historic moment”.
Podgorica obtained a Membership Action Plan in 2009, which was regarded as a step before membership – but the expected invitation to join failed to materialise at last year’s alliance summit in Wales.
While the pro-Western government sees joining NATO as a strategic priority, Montenegrins remain bitterly divided about membership.
Many in the large Serbian community are still angry about NATO’s bombing campaign against Yugoslavia in the 1990s, which forced Belgrade to withdraw from what was then the Serbian province of Kosovo.
The Kremlin has called the membership invitation to Montenegro a blow to European security and to relations between Russia and NATO.
Several thousand opponents of the Montenegrin government staged an anti-NATO rally on Saturday in Podorica, shouting “No to NATO” and “Long Live Russia” and demanding a referendum on Montenegro’s membership of the alliance.
Accusing the government of pushing the country into the alliance against the will of the citizens, they also blamed Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic for backing Western sanctions against Russia, a country “without whose help Montenegro would not exist”.
“Anything other than a referendum [on NATO] would be occupation of Montenegro, which can only end with an armed uprising,” Janko Vucinic, from the Workers Party, said.
Protesters carried Serbian and Russian flags and banners proclaiming “We are not for war, and you?”, “We love our homeland” and “No to NATO”.

Addressing people, the former President of Montenegro and Yugoslav Prime Minister, Momir Bulatovic, said: “Normal people must not be silent about Montenegro’s entry into NATO.”
NATO was an “association of thieves, not just of killers”, he added.
Bulatovic, a longtime ally of late Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, quit politics in 2001, so this was his first public political appearance in almost 15 years.
Ljubomir Komatina, whose father was killed in NATO air strikes in 1999, related to the Kosovo conflict, addressed the protesters saying: “I didn’t come here to weep for the NATO victims but to invite all honorable Montenegro to say that there is no place for NATO here.”
The rally ended peacefully after protesters marched through the centre of Podgorica.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *