Despite Bad Weather, Protest Gathered Around 10,000 Citizens

By , 24 Feb 2019, 11:11 AM Politics
Despite Bad Weather, Protest Gathered Around 10,000 Citizens Protest in Podgorica, Gathering at the "Independent Citizens' Square", Copyright: 97,000 Odupri Se FB page

February 24, 2019 - The organisers of the "97,000-Odupri Se" protest, at last night's meeting in Podgorica, have announced new demands: the irrevocable resignation of members of the Public Service Council and General Director of Montenegrin Radio Television (RTCG) Bozidar Sundic. Despite the terrible weather conditions, around 10,000 citizens from all Montenegrin cities participated in the third round of protest.

The protest began at the Independence Square, or, as the organisers called it - the Independent Citizen's Square and the completed in front of the RTCG building, where protesters dumped toilet paper rolls and screamed "Liars". Citizens made noise with drums and whistles, while RTCG broadcasted it on the central news.
protest in podgorica 1Gathering at the Independance Square, Copyright: "97,000 Odupri Se" FB Page
At the Independence Square, thousands of people gathered exclaiming words: "We're a State", "We Want Justice,” "Milo thief", "Katnic Go Away", "Resignations" and "All on the streets".
During the protest in front of the state institutions, there was a noticeably increased police presence, but no incidents occurred. Police officers did not carry equipment to break the demonstration, except the police cordon at RTCG and members who were in transit between the Government and the Montenegrin Assembly buildings. One of the organisers Demir Hodzic called on citizens not to allow provocations and incidents. 
"These are nonviolent protests and will remain so. Someone who tries to make problems is not part of us, " Hodzic said emphasising there are no free institutions in Montenegro.
Dramatist Lela Milosevic told the citizens that freedom was not unconditional and that citizens were free until they violated some of the laws of society and the country in which they live.
"When we break the freedom, we would have to be taken away. And did we break the laws of society and the country in which we live? We did not! And are all the law offenders in Montenegro deprived of liberty? No! That's why the price of their freedom we pay well and feel about our skin, not guilty or obliged," she said.
Milosevic added that the reason for the street gathering is that “Montenegrin citizens are deprived of liberty and laws are not equal for everyone".
"That is why we have decided for peaceful, democratic protests to seek the release of all state institutions, the judicial system, all state resources, to make them function in the interest of the state and the people, not in the service of the prosperity of the ruling individuals. We are looking for the liberation of the captured government, to enter into those people who will represent the interests of the citizens and the state, not personal and rogue interests," she said.
To those who characterise citizen protests as hostile and anti-state, Milosevic said that citizens who went out to the streets are not the enemies of the state.
"I'll send them their vocabulary to understand: Easy! These are heavy accusations! You could quickly answer them. Enemies and destroyers are among you, those who hunt for electricity, we know well why. Enemies are those who work exclusively for personal interest and against the interests of their people and the state. These are the enemies, not us," she said.
protest b pejovicThousands of people gathered in Podgorica, photo: Boris Pejovic, Vijesti
The allegations by the media that various domestic and foreign services are behind the protest organisation, actor Slavisa Grubisa said that "behind these protests is the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS)."
"They took us to the street. DPS made an effort to make citizens of this country feel like second-rate citizens. They exchange hundreds of thousands of euros in their cages and give us the minimum for paying them new and bigger electricity bills! Well, we do not approve of that. We are Montenegro's first line of defence," Grubisa said.
He also recalled that the citizens had just received a battle in Bar at the very moment of the protests.
"But they are so wicked that they win their overwhelming decisions and still want to get rid of it. We will not allow Bar to stay without a new kindergarten, and some will answer for now obviously completely unnecessary harvest of trees. There is no abandonment of the free peoples of Montenegro! Change is in us. Patient and persistent, to the end! Let's face it," Grubisa said.
"Those who have not yet decided to go to the street," Mara Scepanovic, a professor at the Faculty of Natural Sciences of the University of Montenegro, addressed the words of the poet Sergei Yesenin: "Do not allow yourself to be indifferent, of which man never recovers."
protest rtcg boris pejovicProtestants in front of RTCG building, photo by Boris Pejovic, Vijesti
Describing the reasons for the urgent resignation of those responsible in the Public Broadcast Service, Omer Sarkic from the protest organisation committee said that the public broadcaster is now the same as the one in the 1990s.
"It is not a public but a party-propaganda service. It has 30 years of disinformation, quarrelling, dividing, instead of informing us, educating, connecting. Today we are here to come together and finally firmly resist this. That is why we ask that the RTCG Council and the Director General of RTCG immediately submit irrevocable resignations. There was enough of their noise and brute. Our noise at the time of their central news should be the answer to their premature brutality," said Sarkic.
"And in the previous two protests" 97,000 - resist ", organised on February 2 and 16, the number of gathered citizens has surpassed our expectations. For the first protest, we prepared 97, and for the second 970 envelopes. However, in both cases, ten times more citizens came out on the street," the organisers said.
Protestors repeated requests for the resignations of the Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic, Prime Minister Dusko Markovic, Special Prosecutor Milivoje Katnic, and the Anticorruption Agency Director Sreten Radonjic.
They said they would not give up the protest until the state institutions are free and independent and announced that the new gathering would be organised next Saturday by delivering new demands. 

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