The opposition in Montenegro has accused the government of trying to pre-empt the result of the country’s referendum by calling supporters out onto the streets. Around 650,000 people live in the mountainous republic. The issue of independence has revealed deep divisions in the tiny nation.
Serb politicians, Orthodox church leaders and many in the rural, inland areas are against any kind of political and national autonomy. However, others in the country, particularly young people in the capital, Podgorica, would prefer to go it alone. Hundreds took to the streets with flags and fireworks in impromptu celebrations, despite the fact that the official results were not yet known.
Those against the idea of autonomy say Montenegro needs the support of the Serbian authorities in terms of jobs, education and health care. But those in favour say the relationship offers little support. Both countries have separate laws and currencies, and their joint parliament rarely meets.