During a summit in early December foreign ministers of NATO countries decided to inviteMontenegroto their military-political bloc. Almost all of the Western media that generally ignore events occurring in the small Balkan country commented on this "historic" decision.
The republic's leadership was quick to explain its citizens thatMontenegrois just a step away from being a member of NATO and EU. Podgorica has many reasons for skepticism. Even theAlliancesecretary general, announcing the decision of the foreign ministers, pointed to the need to continue reforms in the fight against corruption and crime. He also noted the unsatisfactory level of public support for the upcoming NATO integration. Western experts are also skeptical about the desirability ofMontenegro's entry. According to European and even American political scientists, this solution looks at least untimely under conditions when the international community and NATO face much more important tasks.
To convince 600,000 Montenegrins in the necessity of acceding into NATO, the alliance spends huge amounts of money: conducts numerous seminars, "round" tables and forums, comprises dozens of NGOs. Does such costly PR prove useful?
The answer to this question can be found on the streets of Podgorica, which hosted yet another several thousand strong rally under anti-NATO slogans on December 12, 2015. Up to 10 thousand people gathered on the square in front of the Republican Parliament, where they announced their main requirement - holding a nationwide referendum on NATO membership. The leader of the united opposition forces A.Mandic, who actively supports displacing Milo Djukanovic, said: "This protest is our response to the invitation toMontenegroto join NATO. We demand a referendum!" "We will organize separate protests against Milo Djukanovic's regime and against joining NATO," - he added.
Rally participants pointed to the fact that not only the majority of the population, but also one-third of the country's parliament opposes government's Atlantic aspirations. Such was the alignment of forces in the ruling coalition days before the start of the protests. Today, a vote could show worse results for the acting government.
In addition, the protesters reminded about NATO aircraft bombingMontenegroin 1999. Speaking at the rally, leader of the Democratic party M.Knezhevic said: "NATO wants us to thank them for what they've done celebrating their 50th anniversary while killing our children and taking away our territory".
In conclusion of the meeting rally participants marched through the streets of Podgorica toward themonumentofSt.Peterof Cetinje. Law enforcement officers were called upon not to impede the activities, due to the scale of opposition rally. In addition, dispersing people by force apparently remains a spare option for the government, though it would hardly fit Western society's idea of "a high level of public support."
Protests demanding the government to resign do not cease inMontenegrofor several months now. Republic's citizens loudly voice their dissatisfaction with the authorities' actions aimed at forcibly tracking the country into NATO. By inviting Podgorica join theAlliance,Brusselshas provoked growth of protest activity and only intensified opposition's anti-government rhetoric with anti-NATO slogans.