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Thread: Montenegro to Penalise Disrespect for National Anthem

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    Default Montenegro to Penalise Disrespect for National Anthem

    Plans to fine Montenegrins who do not stand up for the national anthem are causing divisions in a country where many still resent the country's independence.

    Montenegro's government has put forward legislation that would make not standing up for the national anthem an offence punishable by a 300 to 2,000-euro fine.

    “A fine of 300 to 2,000 euros will be imposed on a person if they do not stand up during the performance of the anthem,” the government press statement said.

    Many Montenegrins took to social networks to criticise the proposal, arguing that the penalties would be excessively harsh, and maintaining that standing up for the national anthem should be a solemn, personal decision, not enforced by law.

    Supporters insist it is reasonable to protect the dignity of the nation and say not standing up for the anthem is disrespectful and unpatriotic.

    On Thursday, the cabinet passed a draft law on state symbols and on statehood day which also includes an obligation to keep the flag permanently flying on town halls and public institutions.

    The plan to penalise disrespect for the anthem is especially controversial because members of the large Serbian community have often refused to recognize the song “Oh, bright dawn of Montenegro” (“Oj svijetla majska zoro”) as the national anthem since it was adopted in 2004.

    They claim that author of the lyrics, Sekula Drljevic, the founder of the Montenegrin independence movement in the mid-20th century, collaborated during World War II with the Italian occupation.

    The country's mainly pro-Serbian opposition parties also do not recognize the anthem and refuse to stand up when it is played in parliament.

    Similar divisions are visible during sports events, mostly football matches, when some fans even boo while the anthem is playing.



    However, even some members of pro-Montenegrin parties queried the new anthem law on Friday.

    “Forcing someone to respect state symbols is ridiculous,” Nedeljko Rudovic, an opposition MP, said on Facebook.

    In most Western countries, tradition and protocol dictate how people should behave when the national anthem is played. But they do not have laws or specific penalties for not standing up.

    None of the other Balkan nations prescribes a penalty for not standing while the national anthem is playing.

    Asian countries like Singapore, Malaysia and China are far stricter. In China, those showing disrespect for the national anthem face up to 15 days in police detention.




    http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/arti...nse-10-05-2018

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