Montenegrin Police Deploy Tear Gas to Disperse Protests Against Top Cleric's Inauguration - Videos
BELGRADE (Sputnik) - Montenegro's police have fired tear gas at people protesting against the enthronement of Joanikije, the new metropolitan bishop of the Montenegro and the Littoral diocese, a part of the Serbian Orthodox Church, as they were blocking off the entry into the former Montenegrin capital Cetinje, national television reported.
Joanikije is set to be ordained at the Cetinje Monastery later in the day, to the chagrin of the country's nationalists, who view SOC priests as Serbian agents of influence. With the official greeting ceremony for Porfirije scheduled for Saturday, local residents staged a demonstration against the enthronement and the related visit of Serbian Patriarch Porfirije, breaking through the police cordon and blocking off the entry into the city.
Ahead of the ceremony scheduled for 8 a.m. local time (06:00 GMT), police tried to disperse crowds of protesters, resorting several times to tear gas and stun grenades. People have been rallying in Cetinje downtown since 5 a.m.
Both the Montenegrin Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Serbian authorities have been expressing their concerns about the safety of the upcoming enthronement ceremony. Montenegro's national security council on Friday ordered the security and intelligence agencies to increase cooperation in order to protect the constitutional order and the citizen's rights and freedoms.