Fourth tear gas attack in Kosovan parliament, 17 policemen injured in clashes

Fourth tear gas attack in Kosovan parliament, 17 policemen injured in clashes
By Valentina Dimitrievska November 17, 2015

Seventeen policemen were injured in clashes between Kosovo’s special police units and protestors outside the parliament building in Pristina on November 17, after opposition MPs staged another tear gas attack inside the building, a government statement and local media reported.

Two of the policemen were seriously injured, while one protestor also suffered injuries. Two people have so far been arrested in relation to the clashes, broadcaster Klan Kosova reported.

This was the fourth tear gas attack in parliament in protest over the EU-brokered landmark deals with Serbia and the border demarcation deal with Montenegro. The opposition, led by the Vetevendosje (Self-Determination) party, is, in particularly, against the establishment of a Serb community that will receive greater rights in Kosovo. Opposition parties have announced that they will stage another protest on November 28 against the deals.

“The situation is tense due to the government’s insistence on reaching agreements with Serbia and Montenegro,” Vetevendosje said in a statement on its website on November 17.

Protestors who gathered outside parliament in Pristina threw Molotov cocktails and bottles at police officers, Klan Kosova reported.

Clashes also took place in Skenderbeg and Ibrahim Rugova squares in Pristina. Police used tear gas to disperse the crowd.

A video posted on Facebook by Vetevendosje’s lawmakers shows its member and lawmaker Albin Kurti, who set off the tear gas device in parliament, being given medical aid. The party said that Kurti had been brutally beaten by police.

Following the tear gas incident, parliament resumed its session and adopted the draft budget for 2016, with 79 votes for and one against, the assembly said in a statement.

The two opposition parties that have joined forces with Vetevendosje are the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo and the Initiative for Kosovo. The opposition block blames the government, led by Prime Minister Isa Mustafa, for decisions that will supposedly lead to further ethnic division in the country, and also for corruption scandals and poor economic performances.

Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008.