An Open Letter to the Government of Montenegro, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the Police Directorate.
We, the undersigned citizens of Montenegro, are protesting against the recent police repression that was aimed against the participants of peaceful citizen’s protest.
Yesterday in Podgorica, peaceful demonstrators were arrested – including professors, NGO activists, journalists, and citizens – while our fundamental rights as Montenegrin citizens were violated in a brutal, savage, and vulgar way.
Yesterday in Podgorica it wasn’t only our fellow citizens and their representatives who were arrested, but the constitutional order itself was attacked, thereby directly attacking our right to publicly express our discontent – essentially striking against the foundations of the state of Montenegro, its institutions, and its citizens.
A fundamental civic responsibility is resistance to such aggression, as an act of solidarity with all citizens and as a way of protecting our institutions from misuse.
The use of police force doesn’t simply strike against individuals, the laws, or our constitution, but it also strikes against individual representatives and our right to peaceful protest. With these actions the police has struck at the very character of Montenegro as a republican and free political community.
That is something that all of us have a duty to defend, regardless of our political or ideological preferences or our private and party interests.
Montenegro is a state based on a republican order, where the people’s representatives embody popular sovereignty.
The police’s boot must not be allowed to step on our sovereignty, our constitution, our representatives and the citizens of Montenegro. Montenegro does not exist without its citizens and its representatives.
The responsibility of the institutions that You represent is to protect the citizens, according to conscience and the law. If such postulates of a society do not exist, then we ask – why do institutions exist?
At the moment when a repressive state apparatus openly carries out aggression against its own citizens, all existing divisions – of nationality, political party, ideology, religion, gender, sexuality, generational – disappear! If things continue in this way, we believe that in Montenegro only citizens and a repressive regime will remain, and the heart of Montenegro will be defended – the citizen as the embodiment of sovereignty.
We as citizens are alerting You to this fact.
This letter was originally published by the Montenegrin news portal Vijesti.me. English translation by Kole Kilibarda.
Readers who agree with the contents of this letter are invited to add their names to a new petition.
Cover photo credit: Anadolija