Hundreds of protestors in Podgorica against the law restricting presidential powers and the failure of the ruling coalition to appoint judges for the Constitutional Court were dispersed by police from Montenegro who used pepper spray.
Protesters, mostly members of pro-Montenegrin organizations, rallied in front of parliament building with rocks, signal flares and tried to break through a barrier. They were eventually pushed aside.
Predrag Vusurovic (an activist) said: “What we did today was the blocking of Podgorica.” For Friday (16 December), he announced that he would be announcing more rallies in the small Adriatic republic.
Montenegro is currently in political impasse since its constitutional court was dissolved due to the retirement of some judges.
Blockage by the court could make it hard to organize next year’s presidential and early parliamentary elections.
The new judges could not be appointed by the 81-seat parliament, in which a heterogeneous coalition pro-European/pro-Serb parties has a majority with one deputy.
Pro-Montenegrin organizations and opposition parties launched anti-government protests last month in Podgorica. They demanded elections, unblocking the court, and the withdrawal a law that restricts the power of Montenegro’s long-time President Milo Djukanovic.
Montenegro is an NATO member and a candidate for the European Union.
The politics of the small Balkan republic, home to just 625,000 people, has been marred by a division between those who identify themselves as Montenegrins as well as those who identify themselves as Serbs. They oppose Montenegro’s separation from an ex-state union with Serbia.
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