Protesters in Montenegro keep up pressure on Milo Djukanovic

Protesters and activists supported by opposition parties in Montenegro have been mounting pressure on the government, demanding the resignation of President Milo Djukanovic and other leaders, citing alleged corruption in their ranks.

The crowd marched through Podgorica, on Saturday chanting, “Milo thief” and carrying banners reading: “No more crime,” “Rebellion” and “We are the state”.

An informal group of intellectuals, academics, NGO activists and journalists stand behind the protests dubbed #Odupri se! [Resist!].

They accuse President Djukanovic, who has held power for almost 30 years, of presiding over poverty, a loss of human rights and media freedoms and systematic corruption.

Beside Djukanovic, the protesters demanded the resignation of the Supreme State Prosecutor, Ivica Stankovic, and the chief prosecutor for organized crime Milivoje Katnic.

They accuse senior law officials of ignoring evidence and not prosecuting manifest corruption in the ranks of Djukanovic’s inner circle.

The protesters marched by the Montenegrin broadcaster, RTCG, and demanded more professional and fair reporting.

Saturday’s protest was the third in a row and following the revelation of footage and documents that appear to implicate top officials in obtaining suspicious funds for the President’s ruling party, the Democratic Party of Socialists, DPS.

A video clip from 2016 surfaced in January which showed Dusko Knezevic, chairman of the Montenegro-based Atlas Group, appearing to hand the then mayor of Podgorica, Slavoljub Stijepovic, an envelope containing what Knezevic later said was $100,000, to fund a DPS election campaign.

Knezevic, who is believed now to be in London, has told the media he had been providing secret cash to the DPS for the past 25 years.

The DPS and Djukanovic have denied wrongdoing, insisting that all donations to the party are recorded in the party’s financial records.

The authorities have since gone after Knezevic, until recently close to the ruling elite, who now faces charges of money laundering.