People from all parts of Montenegro took part in the rally, holding banners reading, "We are here for Montenegro, for the EU," and, "We want an election.”
PODGORICA -- More than 10,000 people protested in front of the Montenegrin parliament on November 17 to demand snap elections and the withdrawal of a law on presidential powers.
The protest was organized by the Ima Nas (We Are Numerous) movement, which has the backing of President Milo Djukanovic's Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) and its allies.
People from all parts of Montenegro took part in the rally, holding banners reading, "We are here for Montenegro, for the EU," and, "We want an election.” They also waved Montenegrin national flags, as well as EU and U.S. flags.
There were no incidents at the event, which took place amid a heavy police presence.
Speakers who addressed the crowd made accusations against the parties that hold a majority in parliament, led by the pro-Russian Democratic Front, the Democrats, and the Citizens' Movement of Ura, which have been refusing to call early elections for the past two months and which have yet to form a new government. Nikola Janovic of the Democratic Party of Socialists repeated the request of the opposition to hold new elections. "Let the citizens put everyone in their place and let Montenegro be free again after these elections,” Janovic said. “The humiliation of this country must stop." Montenegro is a NATO member and a candidate to join the European Union. The country of 620,000 people proclaimed independence from Serbia in 2006, but about one-third of its population identify as Serbs and some believe Montenegro should not be a separate country. Nebojsa Mrvaljevic of the Forum of Free Citizens and the organizer of the protest said that the petition for holding snap parliamentary elections has been signed by 30,000 citizens so far. Among the politicians who took part in the rally were officials from the opposition DPS, the Social Democratic Party, the Social Democrats, and the Liberal Party. By amending the law on presidential powers, the current parliamentary majority is trying to transfer part of Djukanovic’s powers on the nomination of candidates to parliament. The opposition sees the call for snap parliamentary elections as a way out of the political crisis Montenegro is in after the collapse of two governments since the beginning of the year.