Right to protest must not be limited by brute force

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) invites all competent institutions in Montenegro to investigate fully and in detail the conduct of police in action of termination of peaceful protests in front of the Parliament of Montenegro, as well as whether the police’s powers were used in accordance with the law and to, according to the findings, conduct a procedure of determination of responsibility.

CCE strongly condemns the excessive use of physical force, considering that the right to express political and other beliefs is guaranteed by the Constitution.

It is also irresponsible that the Minister of Interior, Rasko Konjevic, and Director of the Police Department, Slavko Stojanovic, have not organized even a press conference and directly explained to the Montenegrin public motives and details of police intervention, use of force, especially in the arrests of MPs. This is all the more reason that of this must be heard in the Parliament of Montenegro by relevant parliamentary committee.

CCE urges also the Supreme Public Prosecutor Ivica Stankovic to declare thus whether in this morning’s police intervention existed elements of criminal offense prosecuted ex officio.

CCE particularly condemns preventing media in their work, ie. a brutal attitude towards journalists who were present at the spot and who were prevented from exercising their duties. Detention of journalist of the daily Dan Drazen Zivkovic, as well as arrest and beating of editor of the portal IN4S Gojko Raicevic is an inexplicable act that in addition to public condemnation should result in urgent response of internal control of police and Supreme Public Prosecution.

Severity of situation requires that all social actors, especially political entities in this situation act responsibly and insist that everything is resolved in accordance with the legal system of Montenegro, and that the government understands that protests are a democratic attainment and a legitimate form of political fight.

Boris Marić, senior legal advisor