Kosovo police clash with protesters for second day running after MP's arrest

Kosovo police clash with protesters for second day running after MP's arrest
By Valentina Dimitrievska November 19, 2015

Kosovan police clashed with a group of violent protestors in front of the government building on November 18 following the arrest of an opposition lawmaker for disrupting the work of the parliament. Seven policemen were injured, while 22 protestors were held at the police station, the police said in a statement.

This is the second day of clashes after 17 policemen were injured on November 17 during an opposition protest against the country's EU-brokered landmark deals with Serbia and the border demarcation deal with Montenegro. The opposition believes that Kosovo will “install a Serb republic” in Kosovo under the deal with Belgrade, and will lose 8,000 hectares of land under the agreement with Montenegro. 

MP Donika Kadaj-Bujupi was arrested in the morning and was cooperative after being brought to the prosecutors office, police said in a statement on November 18. Bujupi is from the opposition party the Alliance from the Future of Kosovo (AAK).

"AAK together with other opposition parties is determined not to allow the passage of the two agreements," broadcaster Klan Kosovo reported, quoting the party’s press release following the arrest of Bujupi, who will now be detained for 30 days.

The police also issued arrest warrants for three other opposition members in connection with the latest violent developments in the parliament, including MP Albin Kurti, who has repeatedly set off tear gas in the assembly. All three are members of the Vetevendosje party.

The third party in the opposition block is the Initiative for Kosovo.

According to police, 150 people gathered in front of the government building in Pristina on November 18 in a protest that was peaceful in the beginning but later turned violent, with protestors throwing bottles and Molotov cocktails. Damage was reported to official vehicles as well as to the government and nearby buildings.

There was also an incident where police found a hand grenade near the Kosovan Constitutional Court, which has to decide on the constitutionality of the deal with Serbia. The court building was surrounded by police and the grenade was later detonated in a controlled explosion.

The government of Kosovo condemned the latest incidents and the “extreme violence manifested by the opposition in the streets of Pristina.”

“The government of Kosovo is extremely displeased about innocent civilians and policemen being injured, as well as material damages and the horrible scenes that were seen today in Pristina,” the government said in a statement.

The opposition block has previously announced massive protests to take place on November 28, and has said it will continue blocking the work of parliament until the authorities withdraw their signature from the deals.  

Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and is now recognised by 110 states.