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Page last updated at 23:52 GMT, Monday, 13 October 2008 00:52 UK

Clashes in Montenegro over Kosovo

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Tear gas and flares light up the rally in Montenegro

Protesters have clashed with police in the Montenegrin capital Podgorica at a rally against the government's decision to recognise Kosovo's independence.

At least 20 people were injured in clashes with the police who used tear gas to disperse the crowds at the rally which about 10,000 people attended.

Majority-Albanian Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in February.

Serbia has expelled the ambassadors of both Montenegro and Macedonia, which also recognised Kosovo as a state.

Montenegro and Serbia made up a single state until a referendum in 2006. Montenegro hopes to become a future member of both the EU and Nato, both of which are heavily involved in Kosovo.

On Wednesday, a majority at the UN General Assembly agreed to allow Serbia to challenge the legality of Kosovan independence at the International Court of Justice.

Referendum call

Waving Serbian flags and shouting "Kosovo is the heart of Serbia", protesters demanded the immediate reversal of the government's decision to recognise independence.

Map

Many of the injured appear to be policemen. Most of the injuries appeared to be light, caused by stones or "direct clashes", Podgorica hospital manager Vladimir Dobricanin told the AFP news agency.

Many Montenegrins consider themselves Serbs and back Belgrade's opposition to Kosovo's secession.

"We demand the government revoke its decision on the recognition of Kosovo," Vasilije Lalosevic, a member of the opposition, pro-Serbian Socialist People's Party, was quoted as saying by Reuters.

He also called for a nationwide referendum on the issue.




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