Several thousand supporters of the opposition Democratic Front (DF) held a protest rally in central Podgorica on Sunday evening demanding that the government and Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic step down by next Saturday and that an interim government be formed.
A minor incident occurred when a group of youths threw stones at the police, who responded by firing teargas.
DF leader Andrija Mandic told the crowd that Djukanovic had left the country by plane on Sunday evening, without specifying where he had gone or why.
The ruling Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) later said that Djukanovic had not left the country and that at the time he was chairing a meeting of the National Security Council that was taking place “only 500 metres away from the square where Mandic tried to spread his lies”.
The National Security Council said that several activities during the protest rally “threatened the constitutional order, stability of the state and public security.”
On Saturday evening, Podgorica was the scene of clashes between DF supporters and police, with injuries reported on both sides. About 20 demonstrators were arrested, and the police said they had stopped several thousand people storming the National Assembly.
While the opposition condemned the excessive use of force by the police, the ruling parties approved of the police’s action saying that they had stopped a violent demonstration and that the DF should be stopped in its attempts at destabilising the country.
The European Commission Delegation in Montenegro called on the state authorities to investigate what had happened on Saturday evening and the United States Embassy appealed to both sides to ensure that demonstrations were peaceful.
According to local media, Russia expressed regret over the latest events in Podgorica, saying that Montenegro’s inclusion in the Euro-Atlantic integration process was obviously not leading to its consolidation and prosperity.