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MANS Condemns Attempts to Intimidate Citizens of Montenegro

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After the police raid on the “Mint” cafe, where the the party in support to the March round of social protests was held, which resulted in serious violations of human rights of owner Savo Jovanović, the personnel and patrons of the cafe, the MANS Network for Affirmation of NGO Sector expressed, in a statement for the public of March 6, 2012, its concerns over the attempts by the state to abuse its powers and institutions to intimidate the citizens.

From the January 2012 round of protests against bad social situation in MontenegroFrom the January 2012 round of protests against bad social situation in Montenegro

“Intimidation of citizens is a method we hoped we have left behind. We are especially worried by the fact that the state uses the institutions that are, in fact, charged with the task to provide security for the citizens and we need to trust the most”, MANS says.

MANS adds that, in addition to use of excessive force, police officers violated a series of provisions in the Misdemeanours Law on proper procedures and conditions to make an arrest.

“Jokanović was never informed about the reasons for his arrest, which should have been done by the officers during the raid, not two days later, through a press release”, MANS says.

The association adds that, although the police reported that the raid was organized after it received information that “a known armed criminal was at the cafe”, it could be used as ground for action against the said person, not to mistreat and violate the rights of Jokanović and other people present at the cafe.

MANS expressed its hopes that this last “police raid” was not conducted in direct reaction to the intent of individual citizens to support the March round of protests and demanded from Minister of Interior to order urgent thorough investigation that would individualise the responsibility for the incident.

“MANS, the Union of Free Trade Unions and the Student Union will back any individual that is subjected to repression of state institutions just because he or she assisted the organisation of the protests. To those that may plan some form or pressure on the citizens, we say that we are not alone. They can arrest, abuse or fire one or several of us, but they surely can’t do it to all of us”, MANS said.

MANS, the trade unions and the students continue the work on the March round of protests which, as announced, will be joined by the pensioners. Last night, March 7, at the “Mint” cafe, an auction of works by several painters who donated paintings was held and the proceedings will be used to fund the transport of citizens from northern Montenegro that want to join the protests. (Source: MANS)

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