President’s supporters rioted outside parliament after controversial vote
Dozens of supporters of Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic threw rocks, bottles and flares at riot police in Podgorica on Monday, accusing the parliamentary majority of “treason” to amend the law on presidential powers.
Protesters had blocked several intersections in Montenegro’s capital since midday, in a bid to deter parliament from voting. When lawmakers began to leave the building around 6 p.m. local time, several of the protesters began throwing objects at police and tearing down the fences put in place to contain them.
calls from “Treason!” and “E viva Montenegro!” as well as personal insults aimed at Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic could be heard, Serbian newspaper Vecernje Novosti reported. Protesters also called the police “Serbs”.
According to several media, the rioters used rocks, bottles and flares to attack the police. Authorities responded by declaring the assembly illegal and ordering them to disperse, after which police used pepper spray and flash grenades.
The proposal they revolted against would change the Balkan country’s laws governing presidential powers. According to the amendments first adopted a month ago, anyone who has “clear support” of the parliamentary majority can become Prime Minister even if he is not appointed to the post by the President.
Critics say it is aimed at Djukanovic, who has ruled Montenegro since the early 1990s in one capacity or another and oversaw its split from a union with Serbia in 2006. His party, however, lost a majority parliament in 2020, and the current coalition government is led by Abazovic, the country’s first Albanian prime minister.
The 81-member parliament had passed the law in November, with 41 votes in favor and Djukanovic’s lawmakers boycotting the vote. The president fired him, saying he violated the separation of powers and endangered the constitutional order. Monday’s vote saw the same law passed by the same margin, with Djukanovic’s party and two allies again boycotting the session.
You can share this story on social media: