Representative Image
Representative Image

Montenegro to fine people for disrespecting national anthem

ANI | Updated: Oct 10, 2018 07:08 IST

Podgorica [Montenegro], Oct 10 (ANI): People will have to cough up around 2,000 euros if they fail to stand during the national anthem of Montenegro, as per a new legislation proposed by the government.
The authorities want to amend the existing 'Law on State Symbols and the Statehood Day of Montenegro' to include penalties ranging from 300 to 2,000 euros "imposed on a natural person if they do not rise during the performance of the anthem." The draft legislation was passed by Montenegro cabinet last week, CNN reported.
A spokesperson of Montenegro's government said that the proposed law would apply even to the foreigners, apart from others, when they are present during the anthem's performance. However, people with disabilities would be pardoned and allowed to pay their respects in "other ways".
In 2006, Montenegro gained independence from the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, following a referendum. The tiny Balkan nation had adopted the anthem -- called "Oj Svijetla Majska Zoro," meaning "Oh, Bright Dawn of May" in 2004.
The anthem has been rejected by some opposition pro-Serbian members of the Montenegro Parliament, as they accuse Sekula Drljevic, who has penned down several verses of the song, of collaborating with the Italian military occupation during the Second World War. The opposition leaders protest by staying seated when the anthem is being played in the parliament.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Action -- a non-governmental organisation (NGO) based in Montenegro, has termed the proposed legislation as "anachronistic".
Maintaining that no other country has such laws, the NGO said, in a statement, "Ordering respect of state symbols in a certain way and intimidation by punishment for the opposite acts is inappropriate for a democratic society that must be open to the expression of different opinion and debate." (ANI)