Montenegro Justifies Use of Force Against Protests

Montenegro's Interior Ministry has defended police actions against anti-government protesters last year, saying they acted professionally, lawfully and in a restrained manner, in spite of being directly attacked.

The minsterial response follows a complaint filed against Montenegro via the online platform of the Council of Europe, which said the police used excessive force against protesters last October.

The document, which BIRN has seen, claims protesters attacked the police with poles, stones and Molotov cocktails, resulting in injuries to around 30 officers.

Police used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse demonstrators in the capital, Podgorica, on October 24, 2015, after protesters tried to storm the parliament.

Led by the main opposition aliance, Democratic Front, demonstrators have been camping outside parliament for three weeks, calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic and early elections.

They demand the formation of a transitional government in place of Djukanovic, who has been at the centre of power since the early 1990s.

The goverment said the violence used at the protests was an attempt to seize state institutions, overthrow the government and alter the country's political orientation.

The protests first turned violent on October 17, 2015, when police fired tear gas to disband the protests.

At least three opposition leaders and several MPs were injured in the clashes, which erupted when protesters tried to march on the parliament.

Two MPs and three journalists were also arrested.

Dunja Mijatovic, the OSCE press freedom representative, called for "transparent" reviews into the detention of journalists Drazen Zivkovic and Gojko Raicevic. Both faced...

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