Hundreds protest new Montenegro gov’t bid to modify faith regulation | Religion News

Government accused of remaining professional-Serb in excess of its strategies to amend spiritual property law opposed by Serbian Orthodox Church.

Thousands have protested in Montenegro’s capital Podgorica versus the new government’s attempts to change a controversial religion legislation that has stoked tensions over the country’s complex partnership with Serbia.

Chanting “This is not Serbia” and “Treason”, the crowd on Monday defied pandemic-related bans on gatherings to rally outside the house Parliament after the governing administration proposed edits to the legislation that has divided the public for the earlier year.

The demonstration is the first main protest in the small Balkan state against the new federal government that arrived to power after profitable a trim vast majority over a lengthy-ruling professional-Western party at a parliamentary election in August.

Passed in late 2019, the law laid out a system that could see hundreds of monasteries operate by the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) turned into Montenegrin state residence.

But the new govt, which is pro-Serb and carefully aligned with the Church, is now proposing rewrites to be certain the attributes keep in the palms of the SPC, based mostly in Belgrade.

The protesters accused the government, which took electrical power earlier this thirty day period, of trying to “erase the Montenegrin condition and countrywide identity”.

It was not straight away distinct when the parliamentary vote on the religious law variations will just take position.

Whilst Montenegro declared independence from Serbia 14 many years back, their histories and cultures are deeply intertwined.

Around a third of the population of 620,000 determine as Serb though the SPC is continue to the key religious establishment in the region.

Montenegro’s President Milo Djukanovic, whose get together handed the initial regulation, has been keen to curb the SPC’s clout in Montenegro and build up an impartial Orthodox church.

But in August elections, his Democratic Celebration of Socialists (DPS) missing – for the initial time in 3 many years – to an opposition bloc led by SPC allies.

The DPS  steered Montenegro away from Serbia’s and Russia’s affect. The Adriatic country joined NATO in 2017 and is trying to find the European Union’s membership.