PODGORICA, Montenegro (AP) — A number of thousand individuals rallied Monday in Montenegro, accusing the brand new authorities of being pro-Serb due to its plans to amend a spiritual property regulation that’s strongly opposed by the Serbian Orthodox Church.
Carrying Montenegrin flags and chanting “Treason!” the protesters gathered outdoors the parliament constructing in Podgorica, the capital, the place lawmakers are to debate the proposed modifications.
The demonstration is the primary main protest within the small Balkan nation towards the brand new authorities that got here to energy after successful a slim majority over a long-ruling pro-Western get together at a parliamentary election in August.
That vote was marked by the dispute over the non secular regulation that the Serbian Orthodox Church stated was designed to strip the church of its property. The federal government has denied this however the church nonetheless led months of protests that helped strengthen the opposition forward of the election.
Years after gaining independence from a union with Serbia following a 2006 referendum, residents in Montenegro stay divided over its relations with Belgrade. Some 30% of Montenegrins declare themselves as Serbs and the Serbian Orthodox Church enjoys the largest following.
The earlier authorities led by the Democratic Social gathering of Socialists steered Montenegro away from Serbia’s and Russia’s affect. The Adriatic nation joined NATO in 2017 and is searching for European Union membership.
Demonstrators at Monday’s gathering blasted the brand new authorities’s plan to revoke elements of the non secular regulation coping with property. They accused the federal government of setting the stage for the “occupation” of Montenegro.
It was not instantly clear when the parliamentary vote on the non secular regulation modifications will happen.
Regardless of calls to respect measures to curb the unfold of coronavirus, the protesters crowded collectively, many with out masks. Montenegro has reported 666 virus deaths in a nation of 620,000 individuals.
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