February 3, 2019 - A protest of unsatisfied citizens was held on Saturday in Podgorica, which gathered around one thousand participants. The cause of the gathering is the legal, social and political scandal known as the "Koverta" (Envelope) affair, as well as the numerous criminal offenses where the public receives written evidence, audio, and video, from sources close to the top of government. Citizens have organized a protest because the state in this and similar situations does not react as required by the Constitution and the laws of the state of Montenegro.
"The cause of the protest, one of the goals of the struggle against the collective amnesia, is known to the public. Too many affairs were left without prosecution, since the non-procession of the state-of-the-art smuggling of cigarettes, oil, and weapons in the early 1990s, through unrevealed war crimes and peacemaking accounts of organized criminal gangs, to the destruction of the state and the resale of its property to domestic and foreign tycoons. There are no valid judgments either for organizers of irregular elections and trade voices, dirty money owners, and actors of corruption scandals. The Budva case is only an exception that affirms the rule." The organizers called for the protest, aimed at gathering at least 97 citizens. Their expectations were significantly overcome, around 1000 citizens gathered at Ulica Slobode (Freedom Street).
The organizers symbolically shared the envelopes with the citizens, after which a protest walk was started on the Ulica Slobode, to Bulevar Ivan Crnojević and back to the Prosecutor's Office building.
1000 Euros Envelopes- the symbolism is clear, Photo by Antonela Stjepcevic
With whistles and sirens, the citizens chanted "Freedom Street," "Stand Up, People," "We Want Justice," and then left 97 envelopes in front of the Supreme State Prosecutor's Building, with one page written "1,000 Euros" and the other named the many-yearly ill-fated affairs that the Prosecution needs to resolve. Inviting other citizens to join, protesters called "Everyone on the streets, raise your ass!"
In front of the building of the Supreme State Prosecutor's Office, citizens demanded the resignation of Supreme State Prosecutor Ivica Stankovic and Special Prosecutor Milivoje Katnic, chanting "Leave," "Katnic, leave," "Stankovic, resignation!"
In front of organizers- Jovan Gajevic, Photo by Antonela Stjepcevic
One of the organizers of the protest, Jovan Gajevic, said that "the most stupid of all of us decides on our destiny," as well as that "the Prosecution is pointing to the citizens."
Gajevic said that he was 29 years old, as did current Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic when he came to power.
"I have no working days, and I have finished the Faculty of Economics, as well as Djukanovic, even with a better average rating, which was not difficult for me. Would you let me enter the Government and become Prime Minister now? You probably wouldn’t. But we have allowed them to rule for 30 years, they decide our destinies, about our children, grandchildren, even our prayers, given the Montenegrin public debt," Gajevic said.
He called for a new gathering, which will be in two weeks.
"Our goal is fulfilled. The goal was to have 97 and to have a thousand euro envelopes. The symbolism is clear. The next protest is on 16 February. The task for all of you is to invite a couple of friends and acquaintances to join us," said Gajevic.
The protest was attended by many opposition parties including leaders of the Democratic Front Andrija Mandic, Nebojsa Medojevic, and Milan Kneževic, Vice President of the URA Citizens' Movement Milos Konatar, the leader of Democrats Aleksa Becic, and President of Montenegrin Party Marko Milacic.
The protest was also joined by the former candidate for Montenegrin President Mladen Bojanic, Executive Director of the Center for Investigative Reporting Milka Tadic Mijovic, Chief and Responsible Editor of Weekly "Monitor" Esad Kocan, Professor Milan Popovic, and many other Montenegrin NGO's representatives.