February 3, 2019 - Last night in Podgorica, the most massive protest took place since the independence of Montenegro, which according to the organizers, gathered 19,700 citizens from all over the country. At the fourth rally within the campaign “97,000 Odupri Se” (Resist!) held peacefully and without any incident, in addition to repeated demands for resignations with the deadline of 15 March, the protesters also addressed the opposition this time, demanding that they leave Parliament and boycott all elections in Montenegro until the fulfillment of civilian demands.
"We are the State", Copyright: 97,000 Odupri Se
"All those whose resignations we requested are due by March 15 to comply with our requests. If they do not do it then, on 16 March, we will gather again, and we will not get up until they fulfill our demands, "said Milos Krivokapic of the organizing team of the protest.
Citizens are seeking the resignation of President of the state, Milo Djukanovic, Prime Minister Dusko Markovic, Chief Special Prosecutor Milivoje Katnic, Special State Prosecutor Ivica Stankovic and Director of the Agency for the Prevention of Corruption, Sreten Radonjic. They also demand the immediate resignation of the management of the RTCG - Council of the Public Broadcaster and General Manager Bozidar Sundic.
Answering recent statements by President Milo Djukanovic that he is ready to negotiate with protestors
, Krivokapic said that "Protestors are neither terrorists nor kidnappers," so they negotiate with him. "There is no institute of negotiations between citizens and leader of the state because the head of state should serve the citizens," he said.
With gratitude to the opposition political parties for the right communication and the technical assistance provided so far, the protest organizers submitted requests last night and them, believing that this is the only way for joint resistance and struggle for a radical change of the system. "We ask that the deputies of all the opposition political parties leave the Parliament of Montenegro. We also want them to boycott all elections in Montenegro, as long as civil claims for resignations are not met, "said actor Slavisa Grubisa on behalf of the organizer.
The fourth civil protest "97,000 Odupri Se", which, according to the organizers, was attended by 19,700 citizens from all Montenegrin cities, passed peacefully, without any incidents.
Citizens at the Independence Square, Photo by Jelena Djurkovic
During the walk through the center of Podgorica, the column with the demonstrators stopped in front of the building of the president of Montenegro, the Assembly, and the Prosecutor's Office, which provided a small number of police officers without helmets and other equipment for securing protests.
"I believe that only the nonviolent struggle leads us towards the goal. Violence only causes new violence, and we want a new free and fair society, "said Danijela Djurisic from the organizing team, who announced last night's gathering. She also said that she had long been convinced that there were no free citizens in Montenegro, but only interests and clans, and that last night it turned out that this was not the case.
The citizens greeted students with exceptional enthusiasm, who joined the protest in an organized manner. On the Independence Square on their behalf, Lazar Vulević, a student of the Faculty of Political Science,
"I am speaking on behalf of all the brave students who are here tonight. Students who are not afraid to drop them on the exam, to send them to the Employment Service and employ a less professional person because it is politically similar. They often tell us that we are silent and learning and that we do not interfere, and in fact, that silence has taught us that nothing will change. Keep silent. Quiet to get hired. And finally, you will be silent on the plane or bus while you leave this country, "said Lazar Vulevic, noting that more and more young people are leaving Montenegro and that we should be wondering why this is so.
"We want to stay here, to build ourselves in this country," Vulevic said, inviting students and professors to support future civil protests.
Drama teacher Marija Backovic said that she is on the street every Saturday because she does not want to be shy in front of her students.
"One of my students told me recently:" It's all over with the story that the world stays on the youth, you do not have anything to leave us. “I’m here every Saturday because I do not want to be ashamed of my students. I am here because I know that there are enough knowledgeable citizens who want to build a world worthy of inheritance. We want to end the thirty-year-old madness, the rule of illiterate ministers and advisors, the privatization of this state and the destruction of its resources! To end the rule of crime, fear and the inability of citizens, "she said.
Independence Square, 2 March 2019, Photo by Zoran Mikic
State employees of the state security, police, Special Forces and army Backovic said that they should not be worried by the gathered citizens. "We are not a danger to this country. The biggest dangers to this country are those who rule and destroy it for 30 years, "she said.
The one of the most famous Montenegrin cartoonists Goran Scekic said that all the institutions in Montenegro became a cartoon, and therefore he had to speak with jokes.
"Corruption has no end, and therefore there is no end to this column of empty pockets, unemployed daughters and sons. We pay the most expensive electricity and fuel in the region. In our country, there are only drugs, pardon bananas, the cheapest in the region. In the textbooks of future generations, they will write that they (DPS) have invented electricity, "he said.
Scekic reminded that citizens through electricity bills also pay for electricity from renewable energy sources, such as small hydropower plants, whose business connects with those from the top authorities or close to them. "They have created accounts with the 'child allowance' entry. For whom is child allowance? It is for their sons. Someone is with a minimum payment, someone with a mini power plant, "he said, telling the authorities that, if they raise electricity price, they will hear a storm from the “Freedom Square.”
At the last night's gathering, the citizens wore banners "Homeland defend the protest", "We are healthy tissue", "I'm gonna miss you, Milo", "Get up and win," "Mother, give me the euro,"Everyone sees it, nobody recognizes what the boots are doing to us "," Blazo, what's your best tariff package? "," Thank you for a sustainable breakup," Comedy," and among the assembled, last night were mostly young people.
After walking through the city center, the citizens re-assembled in the Independence Square, where the organizers said that if citizens' requests were not met by 15 March, on March 16, they would go out again on the streets.
"We'll gather again, and we will not break until they do it. We give two weeks, which is much more than they deserve. If they do not understand that democracy lies in the citizens and that we are the state, they will understand when 97,000 free citizens are ready to fight to the end after the expiration of the deadline, "Milos Krivokapic said on behalf of the organizer.
He also said that resistance would not stop and invited free citizens to join in further activities actively.