Montenegro Opposition Protests as MPs Stripped of Immunity

Several hundred people gathered in front of Montenegrin parliament building on Wednesday as lawmakers inside passed a motion to strip the leaders of the pro-Russian opposition Democratic Front alliance, MPs Andrija Mandic and Milan Knezevic, of their immunity from prosecution.

This means that Mandic and Knezevic could be detained and put on trial over their alleged involvement in a coup attempt on election day, October 16.

Slaven Radunovic, a Democratic Front MP, thanked other opposition leaders for joining and supporting the protest.

"We do not want to behave like everything is normal in Montenegro, while we know that dictatorship is being introduced," Radunovic said.

The protesters and police forces deployed in Podgorica city centre blocked streets around the building. 

Some local media reported that police also searched the chamber in which the voting took place.

Journalists inside the parliament building reported that several minor incidents occurred between the opposition and the MPs from the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, run by former PM Milo Djukanovic, but parliamentary security prevented violence from erupting.

Before the vote took place, Knezevic addressed the crowd outside parliament.

"We will not stop until we free Montenegro by all democratic means," he said.

"I am ready to endure another 100 years of this struggle," he added.

The two MPs who have been accused, Mandic and Knezevic, are the leaders of the main opposition alliance which strongly opposes the country's NATO membership bid and advocates closer ties with Russia. 

In the motion sent to parliament on Monday, the special prosecution claimed that both are suspected of "establishing a criminal...

Continue reading on: