(Podgorica) A massive pro-independence rally was held today in Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro, in advance of Sunday's referendum on whether to secede from Serbia.
Montenegro is the last of the former republics of Yugoslavia to remain attached to its Serbian core (excluding the posibility of the Kosovo province seceding). The country was last an indepedent state 87 years ago.
Pro-independence supporters believe that ending the union with Serbia will bring economic development and a faster path to the European Union. The EU suspended talks on closer ties with Serbia over Belgrade's failure to arrest war crimes fugitive Ratko Mladic.
Montenegro has fewer than 700,000 people and is noted for its thickly forested mountains and pisturesque Adriatic beaches.
The director of Montenegro's Center for Democracy and Human Rights believes that polls indicate a voter preference for independence.
"I think we will have a pretty clear result where independence will go beyond 55 percent," said Srdjan Darmanovic. "All polls that are conducted here indicate that the Bloc for Independent Montenegro might win about 55 percent of the votes."