Police in Montenegro have fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse hundreds of stone-throwing protesters who were blaming the government for high unemployment, economic mismanagement and alleged corruption.

Nine policemen were injured in Montenegro's capital Podgorica on Saturday during the clashes with the protesters, many of them wearing masks to conceal their identities, the AP news agency reported.

At least 20 demonstrators were detained during the violence, which erupted when about 300 protesters tried to march towards the central government headquarters.

The protesters had no political backing but were responding to a call on a Facebook profile entitled: "Revolution in Montenegro, everyone on the streets". The profile disappeared during the course of the day. 

"We want to live, we want to work!" protesters angry about high unemployment and the slow pace of economic reform chanted in front of the government headquarters before being dispersed with tear gas. "We want them to resign!"

Montenegro is the second former Yugoslav republic to see street clashes in the past 10 days.

On February 7, protesters across Bosnia set fire to government buildings and fought with riot police in the worst civil unrest there since the 1992-1995 war.

Unemployment in Montenegro, a candidate for European Union membership with a population of 680,000 people, is close to 15 percent, according to official figures.

Nearly one third of young people between the ages of 23 and 30 are out of work.

A recent Eurobarometer survey indicated that about 40 percent of Montenegrins see unemployment as their biggest concern. 

Source: Agencies