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Anti-Kosovo Protests Turn Violent in Montenegro

Several thousand Montenegrins, angry at their government's recognition of Kosovo's independence from Serbia, held a rally Monday evening. About 30 people were injured and 35 arrested after the protests turned violent.

Rioters clash with police in downtown Podgorica

Protests over Kosovo turned violent in Podgorica

Opposition parties organized a rally in the Montenegrin capital of Podgorica to protest the government's recognition of Kosovo.

Opposition leaders demanded that Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic's cabinet revoke recognition of the breakaway Serbian region and demanded a referendum on the topic, according to the daily newspaper Vijesti.

Toward the end of the protests, some demonstrators began throwing stones and flares at police officers guarding the parliament building. Police reacted by using teargas, according to the newspaper's Tuesday edition.

The crowd dispersed within 20 minutes, but clashes in side streets continued over the next hour, Vijesti said. Belgrade media on Tuesday claimed rubber bullets were also fired.

Tense relations with Serbia continue

Protestors at a rally in downtown Podgorica

Opposition parties support Serbia's claim to Kosovo

The leader of the opposition Serbian List, Andrija Mandic, accused authorities of provoking the incident. Police however issued a late-night statement saying it was working to identify "several small groups of aggressive persons" responsible for the attack on police.

Anger has mounted in Montenegro since Djukanovic's cabinet recognized Kosovo's independence on Thursday, eight months after the Albanian-dominated province declared independence from Serbia. The decision caused Belgrade to kick out Montenegro's ambassador and to threaten other measures.

Montenegro split from a federation with Serbia in 2006. But the former Yugoslav republics have had tense relations for some time. Montenegro and its Serbian neighbor, Macedonia, brought the number of countries that recognized Kosovo to 50 -- among them are the United States, 22 of the 27 EU nations, and Japan.

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