06:08 GMT +318 July 2019
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    Soldiers prevented Montenegrin citizens from honoring the first victim of NATO aggression in 1999

    Military Stops Montenegro's Mourners From Laying Floral Tribute to NATO Victim

    © Photo: Vladislav Dajkovic facebook
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    Montenegrins in the town of Danilovgrad are shocked after they were banned from laying flowers on a memorial dedicated to Sasa Stojicin, the first victim of NATO's Yugoslavia bombings in 1999.

    Members of the Montenegrin Democratic Alliance (Demos) opposition party have complained after they were banned from laying flowers at a memorial dedicated to Sasa Stojicin, the first victim of NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999.

    Demos representative Vladislav Dajkovic first related the story on his Facebook page. He said that he was one of a group who came to lay flowers in memory of Stojic, who died March 24 1999 after NATO bombed an army barracks in Danilovgrad.

    However, they were prevented from laying the flowers by soldiers guarding the barracks where the memorial is located. The soldiers said they were following "an order that came from above."

    The group eventually left the flowers at the gate at the entrance to the barracks.

    "We did not come to shake the foundations of the state, but to modestly pay tribute. This is another example of the abnormal politics pursued by the current government, after all citizens simply came to put a bouquet of flowers to the place where an innocent person was killed because of the aggression of the criminal alliance [NATO]," Dajkovic said.

    Refusing entry to the barracks, the military reportedly threatened to call for reinforcements if those wanting to pay their respects didn't leave the entrance. This was despite the fact that Demos notified the Ministry of Defense of Montenegro about their visit two days previously.

    "That's what Montenegro has come to. Our military does not allow tributes to the memory of their own colleague. If NATO members would come to them, they would have been greeted with bread and salt," Dajkovic stressed.

    In March 1999, NATO, led by the United States, engaged in a 78-day military campaign against what was then Yugoslavia, which consisted of Serbia and Montenegro, over alleged repressions of Albanians in Kosovo.

    The Serbian government estimates that at least 2,500 people were killed and 12,500 injured by the bombing campaign.

    Despite that, Montenegro began NATO accession talks last year and is slated to complete its accession to the alliance in 2017. In view of public opposition to NATO membership, opposition parties such as Demos have called for a referendum on the matter, a demand which has been refused by the government of Montenegro.


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    bombing campaign, military, Bombing of Yugoslavia, NATO, Montenegro
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