September 6 dawned peaceful in Cetinje following two days of tensions and conflict between the police and those opposing the inauguration of Bishop Joanikije as head of the Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral, which is seated in Cetinje.
As the authorities seek out the protests’ ringleaders and investigate allegations of the use of unnecessary force against the demonstrators, the government and opposition continue to exchange accusations while analysts underscore the pressing need for a dialogue.
Some 60 police officers and protesters were injured during the riots, most of whom sustained minor injuries.
Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapic labeled the protests as an act of terrorism claiming they were instigated by the top leadership of the opposition Democratic Party of Socialists and members of organized crime.
This view was echoed by Dritan Abazovic, the deputy prime minister and coordinator of all Montenegro’s security agencies, who stated that “certain individuals armed themselves” and that there had been “a scenario and attempt to push Montenegro into permanent instability with elements of dissolution.”
The opposition, helmed by the Democratic Party of Socialists, maintains that “by using unnecessary force, [the authorities] attacked its own citizens.”
Opposition parliament members and certain NGOs attended the Cetinje protests – as did Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic. Djukanovic called both the Cetinje inauguration and the authorities’ reaction “acts of violence, contrary to the will of the vast majority of Cetinje’s citizens and of a significant number of Montenegro’s citizens.”
Meanwhile, analysts agree that the current political tensions in Montenegrin society are worrisome and urge for a dialogue on all troubling issues.