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news 04 Apr 14

Anti-NATO Activists Hold Rally in Montenegro

Opponents of the government's drive to join NATO - which they blame for bombing Serbia in 1999 - have called a rally in the capital, Podgorica.

Dusica Tomovic

A coalition of NGOs called "No to War, No to NATO", have called a protest for Friday in Podgorica’s main square, aiming to send "a clear message" that Montenegro should not join the alliance.

Organisers said people should raise their voices against the "aggressive and criminal policy of the alliance.

“We will show that the people of Montenegro respect and do not forget the victims of NATO. We do not agree to being part of the alliance,” the organisers said in a statement, referring to the NATO air campaign against neighbouring Serbia in 1999, which forced Serbian forces to withdraw from Kosovo.

Ethnic Serbs and pro-Serbian parties remain staunchly opposed to the alliance, while the country's pro-Western government is equally determined to sign up.

The government of Milo Djukanovic has said that gaining membership of the alliance is one of its top foreign policy priorities - and hopes for an invitation at the forthcoming NATO summit in Wales, in Britain.

A recent opinion poll suggested that most Montenegrins are still against joining NATO, however.

The "No to War, No to NATO" coalition is supported by 32 NGOs, including the Association of the Internally Displaced from Kosovo and organisations that advocate for the rights of the Serbian community in Montenegro.

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