A Montenegrin prosecutor on Friday ordered the release from detention of a Serbian Orthodox Church bishop and eight priests, whose arrests had sparked protests and clashes with police.
Several hundred people gathered outside the detention facility in the western town of Niksic, greeting Bishop Joanikije and the other priests as they left it late Friday.
“Let this fight continue but with God’s means, truth and justice, and with love towards our homeland, ” Joanikije said.
The priests were detained Tuesday for leading a procession attended by a few thousand people without wearing surgical masks or respecting distancing rules.
Their arrests sparked protests in several towns in Montenegro and Serbia, during which protesters clashed with police, and dozens were arrested.
Meanwhile, tensions between the government and the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro over a religious law are continuing. The church says the law would strip it of its property.
The ban of large gatherings in Montenegro is still in force, as one of the measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus.