A protest rally in Montenegro against the government's tough austerity measures and high unemployment has turned violent after police clash with demonstrators.
On Saturday, police fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse stone-throwing protesters in the capital Podgorica who blamed the European country’s government for their economic problems.
The outraged demonstrators put the blame on the government for high unemployment, economic mismanagement and alleged corruption, calling for its resignation.
The protest organizer, an informal Facebook group, asked Montenegrins to express solidarity with Bosnian anti-government demonstrators who stormed into the country's presidency and other government buildings in the capital Sarajevo earlier this month.
"Bosnia has taken to the streets. What are we waiting for?" the organizers said on their Facebook page, adding, "Tens of thousands of unemployed, hungry and robbed people should take justice into their own hands!"
At least 20 protesters were detained and nine police officers injured during the violence.
"I think that the corrupt elite, led by (Prime Minister Milo) Djukanovic, should end up in jail. The mother of all demands is that Djukanovic leave power after 25 years,” Marko Milacic, one of the protestors, said.
Djukanovic, who has been accused of corruption along with his family and ministers, has run Montenegro in the past 25 years, shifting several times from premier to president and back again.
Montenegro, a former Yugoslav republic, is holding membership talks with the European Union (EU) and would have to curb corruption as well as organized crime to be able to join the 28-member bloc.
The country's economy, mostly based on tourism, has been heavily hit by the Yugoslav wars and wartime UN sanctions.