Montenegro opposition parties protest possible NATO entrance

Montenegro opposition parties hold joint protest in capital of country against prospect of NATO membership

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Montenegrins stage a protest in Podgorica, Montenegro against membership in NATO only days after Montenegro invited to join the security alliance on Dec. 12, 2015.

About 3,000 people gathered on Saturday in Montenegro to oppose country’s proposed membership of NATO.

Opposition parties called the protest in front of parliament 10 days after NATO officially invited Montenegro to join the alliance.

Demonstrators say NATO bombed Montenegro back in 1999 when it was part of the state of Serbia.

The head of the opposition Democratic Front, Andrija Mandic, said that they would “continue gathering until a decision on a referendum about (NATO) membership.”

He warned Montenegro would “go to the brink of civil war, if parliament would take a decision in favor of NATO.”

Former President of Montenegro, Momir Bulatovic, said it must not be forgotten that the alliance bombed Montenegro in 1999.

NATO staged a 79-day bombing campaign against Serbia and Montenegro to force Slobodan Milosevic’s forces to withdraw from Kosovo.

NATO’s move to invite Montenegro is strongly opposed by Russia, which has interests in the tiny Balkan country.

Montenegro’s membership to NATO is thought to take up to a year, and would make the country of less than a million people the 29th member of the alliance.

Montenegro’s possible membership in 2016 would be NATO’s first expansion in seven years. Albania and Croatia were the last countries to join NATO in 2009.