Thousands participate in first protest processions in Montenegro after quarantine lifted (+VIDEO)

Montenegro, June 15, 2020

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Thousands of Orthodox faithful participated in cross processions throughout Montenegro yesterday, Sunday, June 14, in protest of the state’s continuing persecution of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

The processions were the first since the lifting of quarantine measures to be held in protest of the so-called “Law on Religious Freedom,” passed in December, which gives the state the authority to seize Serbian Orthodox Church properties.

In the capital city of Podgorica, about 5,000 believers gathered, while more than 3,000 came together in Nikšić, and hundreds in the seaside towns of Budva and Bar, reports Balkan Observer.

“We ask that there be nothing but icons, candles and crosses in our hands and prayers on our lips. Of course, we must and will comply with the measures established by the health authorities. If there is any incident, it will not be one of us who belongs to the Church, we will all keep order at this meeting,” the clergy said to those gathered in front of the Podgorica cathedral.

However, Montenegrin police have filed several criminal charges against the organizers of the events, which were attended by more than 200 people, in violation of current sanitary measures, but the Prosecutor’s Office did not support the charges.

Several priests from different cities were also summoned to police stations to talk about the mass events.

The processions will continue until the “wicked law” is repealed, His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro told the crowd outside the Holy Resurrection Cathedral in Podgorica.

“After all, if Montenegro is truly a ‘democratic society of European and Euro-Atlantic values’ how is it that, unlike street violence happening around the world, peaceful religious processions can be problematic in such a society, on any grounds, let alone characterized as ‘threats and blackmail,’ as Prime Minister Marković characterized them?” the Episcopal Council of the Serbian Church in Montenegro wrote in a statement on June 12.

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