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Several injured in anti-Kosovo protests

©

Latest update : 2008-10-14

More than 20 people were injured on Monday when Montenegro's police used tear gas against demonstrators protesting the government's decision to recognise Kosovo.

Montenegrin police Monday used tear gas to disperse several hundred angry demonstrators at a mass rally against a government decision to recognise the independence of Kosovo.
  
At least 34 people, including 23 policemen, were injured and admitted at Podgorica's emergency medical center, its manager Vladimir Dobricanin told AFP.
  
Most of those hospitalised suffered slight injuries caused by stones or    "direct clashes," he said.
  
Police said they detained 28 people.
  
Earlier some 10,000 pro-Serb opposition supporters rallied to demand that the government of Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic revoke its recognition of Serbia's breakaway province.
  
But as the demonstration officially ended, some protesters broke the police cordon in front of the parliament building in central Podgorica, throwing stones and breaking windows, an AFP reporter at the scene said.
  
Police then fired tear gas and broke up the crowd.
  
Several groups of hooligans continued running through the capital, breaking windows and setting fire to containers.
  
Police blocked Podgorica's main boulevard Sveti Petar Cetinjski and surrounding streets, cordoning off government buildings.
  
The situation calmed down at around 9:15 pm (1915 GMT), but a major police presence remained.
  
"New protests will be banned considering violent behaviour at the rally," police said in a statement, referring to another opposition gathering scheduled for later this week.
  
Montenegro on Thursday recognised the unilaterally proclaimed independence of Kosovo despite strong opposition from its former federal partner Serbia and pro-Serb opposition parties in Podgorica.
  
The protest, called by four opposition parties in favor of closer ties with Serbia, set a deadline of Wednesday at 11:00 am (0900 GMT) for the government to revoke its "illegal decision" and for parliament to call a referendum on whether Montenegro should recognise the independence.
  
Protesters chanted "Treason, Treason" and "Kosovo is Serbia" as well as slogans against Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic, accusing him of "betraying Kosovo."
  
"This is the most shameful decision in the history of Montenegro," Bishop Amfilohije Radovic of the Serbian Orthodox Church said.
  
There is a strong Serb community in Montenegro, with more than 30 percent of the 650,000 population declaring themselves as Serb.
  
Montenegro separated from Serbia and proclaimed independence in 2006 after a majority of Montenegrins approved the move in a referendum.
  
Kosovo proclaimed independence in February and has so far been recognised by 50 nations, including the United States and most EU countries.
  
The latest to do so were Serbia's neighbours bordering Kosovo, Montenegro and Macedonia, sparking an angry reaction from Belgrade, which in turn asked ambassadors of the two former Yugoslav republics to leave Serbia.

Date created : 2008-10-14

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