Crisis in Montenegro deepens; police arrest 41 demonstrators in several places

Crisis in Montenegro deepens; police arrest 41 demonstrators in several places

Crisis in Montenegro deepens; police arrest 41 demonstrators in several places Izvor: REUTERS/Stevo Vasiljevic

The Montenegrin police said on Thursday they arrested 41 people for ‘provoking incidents in several towns’, and filed criminal charges against 54 people, the FoNet news agency reported.

The police statement said people gathered in seven cities and towns without permission and provoked incidents.

The latest arrests and criminal charges came after days of clashes between the opposition and ruling officials and supporters in the opposition-held coastal town of Budva.

They also followed months of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPS) organised protests against Montenegro’s Law on Religious Freedom which SPC and people from the tiny Adriatic republic who considered themselves of a Serb origin saw as the state attempt to confiscate their the church properties.

In the meantime, Djukanovic accused SPC of wanting to rule Montenegro and push the country back into a theocratic state from the Middle Age.

Earlier on Thursday, Budva Town’s Hall was closed to everyone except for special investigators who were collecting documents following the incidents and unrest during the taking-over of local power.

In Wednesday’s clashes, 17 people were detained, and a police officer was injured. The police used teargas to disperse protesters.

New Budva local leadership led by the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) of the President Milo Djukanovic, ousted the opposition authorities’ leaders on June 11, after one of an opposition councillor switched sides and joined DPS.

The Democrats and Democratic Front councillors, who make up the opposition coalition, claim that was a case of corruption.

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