Pro-Belgrade Montenegrins protest over play

MOSCOW, Mar 18, 2000 -- (Reuters) Some 200 demonstrators declaring loyalty to the Yugoslav federation protested in Monetengro on Friday against a play they say is anti-Serb.

Police, who had issued a ban on the protest earlier in the day, kept the demonstrators 300 meters (yards) away from the National Theatre in the capital Podgorica.

The pro-Belgrade crowd cheered Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and booed Montenegro's Western-leaning leadership. No clashes occured.

Montenegrin police had granted permission for the rally in a park near the National Theatre, but withdrew it when the organizers decided to hold it in front of the theatre itself.

The organizers, the Association of Kuci and Kuci's Friends from northern Montenegro, protested against the premiere of the play "Marko Miljanov," named after a 19th century Montenegrin hero and military leader.

The Association officially called off the rally after police ban, but some of its leaders showed up at the protest.

Northern Montenegro remains loyal to Milosevic who has been at odds with the republic's reformist and pro-Western authorities since 1997.

The author of the play, Novak Kilibarda, is a leader of the People's Party, a member of Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic's ruling coalition and is currently the republic's trade representative in Sarajevo.

Original article