Kosovo Serbs mobilize against Montenegro’s new law on religion
Hundreds of ethnic Serbs rallied on the outskirts of Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, to protest the alleged suppression of religious and other rights of Serbian minorities in neighboring Montenegro.
On January 9, demonstrators marched through Gracanica, a small municipality populated by Serbs, waving religious banners and a cross.
“[Kosovo] against ghosts, the brothers protect the holies, “said a banner.
The march was organized by youth organizations and supported by the Serbian Orthodox Church.
Three similar protest rallies were held in Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, against a controversial new religion law that was passed by Montenegro’s parliament last month.
By law, religious communities must prove pre-1918 ownership.
This is the year that Orthodox Christian majority Montenegro joined the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes – and the Montenegrin Orthodox Church was subsumed by the Serbian Orthodox Church, losing all of its assets in the process.
The Serbian Orthodox Church, its supporters and pro-Serbian opposition parties fear the law will allow the Montenegrin government to seize Church property, although officials deny any intention to do so.
Serbia and Montenegro were part of a federation until 2006, when Montenegro declared its independence.
Montenegro is NATO’s newest member and aspires to join the European Union.