After the violent weekend in Montenegro, when opponents of the enthronement of the Montenegrin Metropolitan and Litoral Joanikije clashed with police in Cetinje, many foreign diplomats expressed concern about the development of the situation.
The European Parliament Rapporteur for Montenegro Tonino Picula and the Head of the EP Delegation to the EU-Montenegro Stabilization and Association Council Vladimír Bilčík issued a joint statement on Monday on the situation in the Mediterranean country.
“We have followed the weekend events in Montenegro with great concern and categorically condemn all the violent acts that took place on Saturday and Sunday in connection with the inauguration of Joanikije II. “Montenegro must fully respect its obligations to protect the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of speech, while also respecting a range of religious rights of its citizens,” Picula and Bilčik said in a joint statement.
They stressed that “Montenegro is an EU candidate country, where political and religious leaders have a special responsibility to reflect in their decisions on the overwhelming support that Montenegrin citizens give to EU accession. We urge all stakeholders to actively contribute to reducing tensions in society and maintaining Montenegro’s commitment to a modern, democratic, multi-confessional and multi-ethnic society. The political instrumentalization of one’s religious beliefs is not in line with Montenegro’s ongoing reform process and successful EU accession. It reflects poorly on Montenegro’s international position and the long history of peaceful coexistence between people of many faiths and ethnic backgrounds. ”
European Commission spokeswoman Ana Pisonero called for restraint in Montenegro following developments in the country over the weekend.
“Any use of force must be measured and proportionate at all times. “We call for restraint and expect all competent authorities to investigate and ensure effective judicial monitoring of all cases of violence, both against protesters and against police officers,” Pisonero said.
She noted that freedom of assembly is a fundamental right of the EU, but stressed that it must, at the same time, be implemented without prejudice to public health and with full respect for the rule of law, public order and security. all Montenegrin citizens.
Ruling coalition politicians and opposition supporters of President Milo Djukanovic blame each other for the events over the weekend in Cetinje.
In clashes between violent groups and police, about 60 people were injured, but no one was seriously injured. According to official sources, eight people have been arrested, including Veselin Veljović, former Montenegrin police chief and current adviser to Montenegrin President Milo Đukanović.