Police in Montenegro on Sunday dispersed a whole lot of demonstrators who gathered within the historic metropolis of Cetinje to dam the inauguration of the brand new head of the Serbian Orthodox Church within the tiny Balkans nation.
Police fired tear gasoline on the protesters gathered on the principle sq., about 100 metres from a fifteenth century monastery the place the brand new Metropolitan of Montenegro Joanikije is to be enthroned afterward Sunday, state tv reported.
The deliberate occasion has exacerbated ethnic tensions within the nation, which broke away from Serbia in 2006.
Whereas the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) is the dominant faith in Montenegro, critics accuse it of serving the pursuits of Belgrade.
And the federal government that assumed energy on the finish of the 2020 is accused by its opponents of being too near the church.
However practically a 3rd of Montenegro’s 620,000 inhabitants identifies as Serb and a few even refuse to acknowledge Montenegro’s independence.
Opponents of the inauguration arrange barricades on Saturday to dam entry roads to Cetinje.
Demonstrators shouted “This isn’t Serbia!” and “Lengthy dwell Montenegro!” on the principle street linking Cetinje to the capital Podgorica on Saturday.
Many spent the night time round fires they lit to maintain heat, an AFP correspondent stated.
‘Defending our dignity’
The protesters hope to forestall SPC leaders, together with its patriach Porfirije, from getting into into the monastery, the SPC seat within the nation however which is seen as a logo of nationwide id by many Montenegrins.
However Joanikije and Porfirije arrived in entrance of the monastery by helicopter Sunday, surrounded by police, pictures launched by the every day Vijesti confirmed.
“I’m right here to indicate my love for the nation,” stated one protester, Saska Brajovic, 50.
“We’re not asking for something from anybody else, however we’re dismissed by the occupying Serbian Church. We’re right here defending our dignity,” Brajovic, who spent the night time at a barricade, informed AFP.
The protesters are backed by the Democratic Social gathering of Socialists (DPS) of President Milo Djukanovic.
Djukanovic had been wanting to curb the SPC’s clout in Montenegro and construct up an unbiased Orthodox church.
However in August 2020 elections the DPS misplaced — for the primary time in three many years — to an opposition bloc led by SPC allies.
Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapic, who’s near the Serbian Orthodox Church, has accused Djukanovic of getting intentionally stocked the latest tensions.
Metropolitan Joanikije was named to his new put up in Might, after the demise of his predecessor Metropolitan Amfilohije from Covid-19. He had run the church in Montenegro since 1990.