Kosovo lawmakers in new teargas protest over Serbia accord
PRISTINA – An opposition lawmaker in Kosovo released teargas in parliament on Thursday, the second such incident in a week in protest at a European Union-brokered accord with former master Serbia.
The opposition is angry over a deal to grant ethnic Serb areas of Kosovo greater local powers and the possibility of funding from Belgrade, saying it represents a threat to the independence Kosovo declared from Serbia with Western backing in 2008.
A bloc of opposition parties says it will disrupt the work of parliament until the deal – and another demarcating Kosovo’s border with Montenegro – are rescinded.
“There will be normality in this country until these two agreements are cancelled,” Donika Kada Bujupi of the opposition Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) told reporters after triggering a teargas canister in the chamber as the speaker tried to open debate. MPs left the assembly.
It was the second such teargas stunt in a week.
On Monday, police fought running battles with stone-throwing protesters demanding the release of a prominent opposition figure who had also set off teargas in parliament days earlier.
Albin Kurti was let go by police hours after being detained.
Kosovo broke away from Serbia in 1999 when NATO bombed for 11 weeks to halt the killing and expulsion of ethnic Albanian civilians by Serbian forces trying to crush a two-year guerrilla insurgency.
After almost a decade as a ward of the United Nations, the majority-Albanian territory declared independence in 2008 and has been recognised by more than 100 countries, including the major Western powers, but not Serbia or its big-power ally Russia. –Reuters