Montenegro police clash with anti-gov’t protesters

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Montenegro police officers arrest a demonstrator during a protest in Podgorica, Montenegro, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014. The demonstrators who assembled in the downtown area of the capital, Podgorica, on Saturday demanded the resignation of the government of the long-standing prime minister, Milo Djukanovic. They accuse his government of rampant corruption, unemployment and economic mismanagement. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

Montenegro police officers arrest a demonstrator during a protest in Podgorica, Montenegro, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014. The demonstrators who assembled in the downtown area of the capital, Podgorica, on Saturday demanded the resignation of the government of the long-standing prime minister, Milo Djukanovic. They accuse his government of rampant corruption, unemployment and economic mismanagement. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

Montenegro police officers guard a government building during a protest in Podgorica, Montenegro, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014. The demonstrators who assembled in the downtown area of the capital, Podgorica, on Saturday demanded the resignation of the government of the long-standing prime minister, Milo Djukanovic. They accuse his government of rampant corruption, unemployment and economic mismanagement. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

Montenegro police officers arrest demonstrators during a protest in Podgorica, Montenegro, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014. The demonstrators who assembled downtown of the capital, Podgorica, on Saturday demanded the resignation of the government of the long-standing prime minister, Milo Djukanovic. They accuse his government of rampant corruption, unemployment and economic mismanagement. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

Montenegro police officers arrest demonstrators during a protest in Podgorica, Montenegro, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014. The demonstrators who assembled in the downtown area of the capital, Podgorica, on Saturday demanded the resignation of the government of the long-standing prime minister, Milo Djukanovic. They accuse his government of rampant corruption, unemployment and economic mismanagement. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

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PODGORICA, Montenegro (AP) — Police in Montenegro fired tear gas and stun grenades Saturday to disperse hundreds of stone-throwing protesters who were blaming the government for high unemployment, economic mismanagement and alleged corruption, and demanding its resignation.

The protests were called by an informal Facebook group that asked Montenegrins to voice solidarity with Bosnian anti-government protesters who earlier this month stormed into the country’s presidency and other government buildings in Sarajevo and set them ablaze over similar demands.

In Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro, at least nine riot policemen were injured in the clashes with the demonstrators, many of them wearing masks to conceal their identities. At least 20 protesters were detained during the violence, which erupted when some 300 protesters tried to march toward the downtown government headquarters.

“Bosnia has taken to the streets. What are we waiting for?” the organizers said on their Facebook page. “Tens of thousands of unemployed, hungry and robbed people should take justice into their own hands!”

Montenegro, a tiny Adriatic Sea state of 600,000 people, and neighboring Bosnia were part of the former six-republic Yugoslavia that broke up during civil wars in the 1990s. Montenegro has been run for the past 25 years by Milo Djukanovic, now the prime minister, who has shifted several times from premier to president and back again.

“I think that the corrupt elite, led by Djukanovic, should end up in jail,” said Marko Milacic, one of the demonstrators. “The mother of all demands is that Djukanovic leaves power after 25 years.”

Montenegro’s economy, heavily hit by the Yugoslav wars and wartime U.N. sanctions, is mostly based on tourism. It is in the in process of transition as the country seeks European Union membership.

Djukanovic, his family and ministers have often been accused of corruption.

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AP Correspondent Dusan Stojanovic contributed from Belgrade, Serbia.

Associated Press

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