Protest Continues: "Odupri Se" Movement Biggest in Montenegrin History

By , 24 Mar 2019, 10:45 AM Politics
Protest Continues: "Odupri Se" Movement Biggest in Montenegrin History Protest "Odupri Se", Podgorica, Photo by Igor Benic

March 24, 2019 - The sixth protest in the campaign "Odupri Se - 97,000" (Resist!), the series of the most massive civil protests in Montenegrin history, gathered more than ten thousand citizens from all parts of Montenegro in Podgorica last night, the organizers said.

"Our empty refrigerators and pockets are our policy," said one of the speakers Maja Jovovic, a representative of the mothers, former users of benefits for mothers for three or more children, who were abolished by the Constitutional Court's decision.

Jovovic pointed out that Djukanovic cannot read, because demonstrators do not endanger the state, but "rescue the state from him." “Unemployment, pensions, salaries and electricity bills for ordinary citizens are the reasons for protesting!" said Jovovic. He also considered abolishing benefits for mothers with three or more children.

"In the multitude of lies and deception, there is a deception of over 22,000 mothers. Two years ago, mothers hungered for 11 days for injustice and violations of the Montenegrin Constitution. We are still on the street, and we will be until the laws in Montenegro are respected! We will be in the street until everyone asked resigns," Jovovic said.

protest igor benic 1Photo by Igor Benic

Nikola Grdinić, a manager of small and medium enterprises and a free citizen, was also summoned to the assembled.

"I believe that the protest is the basis of the revival of this country and that everything must go from the street. Not just this street, but from all our cities, north, south, east, and west. The protest is a reflection of the culture of a nation. The protest has become a way of life in Montenegro. It is the first step to breaking this regime, but also announcing the control of every future government."

Grdinić asked the demonstrators to rate the work of "the president of the Ramada Assembly," the "self-contained prime minister and his fears" and the "self-proclaimed president." Loud whistles followed the questions by the crowd.

"These are not our institutions. We are a legislative, executive and judicial authority. We are a state! We are Montenegro!" said Grdinić, stressing that "the greatest act of patriotism is here."

protest students are here

On behalf of the Student Initiative of Montenegro, a student of the Faculty of Dramatic Arts at Cetinje, Minja Novaković, was convened. The speech started with a mini performance with a chair because she "grew up in a society that teaches us to sit, listen, and suffer."

"Tonight I refuse to sit! I stand here in the name of all students and young people of Montenegro. We do not want us and our parents to fear. When they say at work, 'Watch out what your boy or girl is doing in protest,' I say, 'I just watch!' I'm worried that I do not let them threaten me. I take care of my right to freedom. I keep my power to a dignified existence," she said.

On behalf of the students, she said she wanted an educational system that would make her a specialist.

"I want to create a future in this country. I do not want to suffer from the collective depression imposed on us by this society. It's enough! We are responsible and fearless! Let everyone hear us, 'Students are here!'" Minja said, urging her colleagues to join them in large number on Sunday in front of the Montenegrin Assembly.

The actor Slaviša Grubiša read the "Free Citizens' Declaration" in which the demands for resignation at previous meetings are listed.

We recall, in the previous protests, the resignation of Council members and general director of Montenegrin Radio Television, Božidar Šundić, was requested. Irrevocable resignation was also demanded by Supreme State Prosecutor Ivica Stankovic, Chief Special Prosecutor Milivoja Katnić, and director of the Agency for the Prevention of Corruption of Sreten Radonjic. The protest organizers also demand the resignation of Prime Minister Duško Markovic and Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic.

Grubiša emphasized that "opposition parties’ unity and close cooperation are essential in this process."

"Among the free citizens, from the first day in protest, and representatives of the parliamentary opposition from the Democratic Front, Democratic Party of Montenegro, Socialist People's Party, Social Democratic Party, Demos, URA Civic Movement, Labor Party, United Crna Gora, as well as Independent Deputies." 

"There are also with us non-parliamentary parties, trade unions, students, academics and doctors, and we will be even more. It is a protest of all citizens, and everyone is welcome. "

The protest march moved to the Freedom Street, next to the Prosecutor's Office building, then the Boulevard of St. Petar Cetinjski near the Central Bank, the Assembly, and the President's building. Passing by each institution, loud sounds were heard, and demonstrators screamed: "We are a state!" And "Leave!” In front of the Assembly, the citizens turned to the police with the transparencies, "And your children deserve better" and "This police work for citizens."

The walk continued through the bridge of Blažo Jovanović, where the column stopped short by the Elektroprivreda of Montenegro, with the chanting of "Raise the electricity bills, you'll hear a storm." Then the column went to Moscow Street next to the RTCG building, and the Boulevard of Revolution and the Street of Ivan Vujsevic returned to Boulevard of St Petar Cetinjski and the same way back to Independence Square.

The meeting concluded on behalf of the organizer Denis Mekić, addressing the citizens who did not join the protest yet.

"Everyone of you, who call your chief to check if you voted in the elections, all of you who have been told that your job is threatened, that your child's future is threatened in this country, all those who are threatened by intimidation - your salary does not give you any Prime Minister or President, but us, citizens. Citizens will continue to pay you as long as you work for them, for your Country".

With the message: "We'll see you on the street proudly and without fear!" The organizers called for the next protest, scheduled for Saturday, March 30 at 6 pm at Independence Square.

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