Protests against Law on Religious Freedom continue in Montenegro

REUTERS/Stevo Vasiljević

In several towns across Montenegro new rallies and processions against the recently adopted Law on Religious Freedom continued on Thursday night, local media reported.

The demonstrations started around the Orthodox Christmas celebrated on January 7 and have been held every Thursdays and Sundays.    

This Thursday, the protests were reported from the coastal town of Budva and the northern towns of Berane and Bijelo Polje.    

“People are gathering and support us in the struggle for preserving our sanctities. We won’t give up as long as it’s needed because we have no right to give up our ancestors and descendants. No one has the right to keep silent, to be uninterested in the situation when our religion is endangered,” Archpriest Milan Stanisic said.

Montenegro’s Parliament passed the law last December. It caused a severe reaction by the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) and Monetengrins who consider themselves of Serb origin.

The Church in Montenegro is also Orthodox, but not autocephalous, and is under the SPC jurisdiction, with the support of Bartholomew I, Patriarch of Jerusalem, Primus inter pares or the first among equals, as Orthodox patriarchs are the heads of national churches and are of equal status.

SPC says the new law will deprive it of its property across Montenegro, while Podgorica authorities say the new regulation is in line with the European standards.