DPM Marković discusses protests and authorities’ activity on prominent TV show in Montenegro

    Deputy Prime Minister Duško Marković made a guest appearance on the political talk show “U raljama života” (“In the Jaws of Life”) on Montenegro’s Atlas TV, where he said that the security situation in Montenegro was stable, but that there were certain risks due to the Democratic Front’s fresh round of protests scheduled for Saturday. He called on the representatives of the ogranisers to restart the political dialogue, emphasising that the state will make every effort to preserve constitutional peace and order. DPM Marković also noted that he had information that the nationalist structures in Serbia supported the protests, but not the Serbian authorities. He reiterated that the police had not attacked protesters in front of the parliament building, adding that police had detained only the troublemakers, and that the competent authorities would decide on whether there had been any overstepping of authority.

    Following Sunday night’s Democratic Front march and their announcement of a rally on Saturday, Deputy Prime Minister Duško Marković said that Montenegro was stable, but that certain risks remained.

    “Montenegro is stable, but it is quite certain, and I have the responsibility to say this, that its stability is being challenged, because fresh protests are scheduled for next weekend. They have been officially announced as peaceful protests, a peaceful march, but after the organisers have stated the actual aim of the Saturday’s protests – the government’s resignation, we have to pay attention to that, be cautious, and prevent any escalation of violence, illegitimate fall of the government, and escalating the institutions.”

    DPM Marković said that the Government would not accept the opposition’s ultimatum for an establishment of a transitional government by Saturday.

    “The government will not resign on Saturday and a transitional government will not be established, as it is an undemocratic demand and it is not in line with political and democratic standards. Citizens elect the government in elections, this process takes place within institutions, after having been elected in the parliament and other institutions. And, naturally, in the course of its mandate, the government is exposed to different kinds of challenges, and also to the possibility of its fall when there is clear support of the parliamentary majority for that. If the government had accepted the requests of a political alliance did not provide a general political consensus, or greater political consensus for the government’s fall, it would be an undemocratic and uncivilised government,” Mr Marković said.

    The Parliament and the Government called on the Democratic Front to restart the political dialogue. In any case, the Government will, in his words, safeguard the constitutional order.

    “We support the political dialogue, but we do not support blackmails and ultimatums. We are ready to defend the constitutional peace and order and Montenegro’s stability. If activities contrary to the law are continued, the authorities will respond, as they would in any other country. Would this kind of conduct be tolerated in, say, Germany or France?”

    Deputy Prime Minister said that the protests were supported by nationalists in Serbia, but not by official Serbian authorities.

    “The protests were supported by nationalistic structures in Serbia close to former president of the Democratic Party of Serbia. Certainly, we do not think that the official Belgrade has been involved. But there are structures in Serbia that would like Montenegro not to continue its European and Euro-Atlantic path, and, therefore, they are very active in Montenegro in various ways, including propaganda,” Marković noted.

    He said that the anti-NATO campaign is also one of the protest’s objectives, the campaign supported by Russia. He did not confirm or deny that the demonstrators had financial support from Russia.

    “That is not what I want to say, but I received such information. Today I have heard that some citizens in the north of the country were visited and encouraged to come to the protest and stay there. They were also told that the Democratic Front had political and financial support from Russia. I do not want to believe that. Perhaps, they were joking or it is only propaganda.”

    The Deputy Prime Minister denied that the police on Saturday morning attacked the demonstrators. He claims that the morning was chosen in order to avoid conflict. Police detained only those who violated the law. The aim was to provide assistance, according to the law, to municipal police in removing an illegally set up camp in front of the parliament building.

    “The police entered the perimeter to ensure the smooth performance by the municipal police. At that moment, a group of citizens that were in that area reacted. We cannot deny that a number of citizens, unfortunately including an MP, attacked police officers. President of a political party physically assaulted a police officer on several occasions,” Mr Marković said.

    It was later when I learned that two journalists were detained, but I was also informed that no coercion measures had been applied. The Council for civil control of the police and the internal control will determine whether there was any error or exceeding of authority.

    The Deputy Prime Minister stated that the government tolerated the protests, which, due to setting up stage and tents, were unlawful from the very beginning, as it wanted to prove its European and democratic capacity.

    Source: Government of Montenegro