Kosovo to secure parliament against tear gas attacks

Kosovo to secure parliament against tear gas attacks
By Dimitar Koychev in Sofia March 11, 2016

The Kosovan government plans to buy a body scanner similar to those used in airports in an attempt to prevent opposition lawmakers from smuggling teargas canisters into the parliament.

Opposition lawmakers have released tear gas in the parliament on numerous occasions in recent months, amid a growing political crisis in Kosovo.

The scanner will cost approximately €270,000. New ventilators have already been installed on the assembly’s roof to clear tear gas.

In the latest incident on March 10, two canisters were released. Opposition MPs also threw a glass of water at prime minister Isa Mustafa and pointed red lasers in interior minister Skender Hyseni’s face, Reuters reported

The session continued after being disrupted by the opposition MPs, according to a statement on the parliament’s website.

Mustafa told the parliament that he “did not see any reason for the opposition to act in such a way, to attack and disrupt the normal functioning of the state.”

The three Kosovan opposition parties represented in the parliament have been protesting for several months against EU-brokered deals struck by Pristina with Serbia, especially the agreement on the formation of an association of Serb-majority municipalities in Kosovo. The parties are also against a border demarcation deal with Montenegro and demand the resignation of the government and early elections. They are also contesting the February 26 election of foreign minister Hashim Thaci as the country’s new president.

Other forms of protest by the opposition included rallies, some of which were marred by violence. On February 23, opposition activists set up tents in front of the main government building in Pristina. The next protest is planned for March 26.