Montenegrins protest inauguration of new Serbian church head

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CETINJE, Montenegro (AP) — Several thousand people have demonstrated in Montenegro over the planned inauguration of the new head of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the small Balkan state. Ethic tensions have soared over the scheduled ceremony for Metropolitan Bishop Joanikije II. The protesters waved Montenegrin flags and chanted slogans against the country’s government, accusing it of being pro-Serb. Hundreds of police officers were deployed in the city, and the U.S. Embassy warned Americans to avoid Sunday’s protest. Montenegro declared independence from the much larger Serbia in 2006. The country is split between residents who consider themselves Montenegrins and those who deny the existence of the Montenegrin nation. About 30% of the country’s population of 600,000 identifies as Serb.

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