Kosovo police clash with activists over MP arrest
Police in Kosovo have clashed with opposition activists protesting against the arrest of a leading lawmaker in the capital Pristina.
Clashes erupted on Monday between police forces and the protesters who had converged on the central police station to demand the release of Albin Kurti, a member of parliament and founder of the opposition Self-Determination party.
Police forces used tear gas to disperse about 200 protesters who chanted the lawmaker’s name as they threw missiles at the ranks of police officers.
Several vehicles belonging to state authorities were reportedly torched.
The MP was reportedly released later in the day, saying, “We will not give up. Let’s stay united.”
The opposition figure was arrested for releasing tear gas in parliament on October 8 in protest at a recent deal with Serbia that would give the country’s Serb-majority areas greater powers.
The parliament session was immediately cancelled as smoke filled the chamber.
Opposition members have been furious over the accord brokered by the EU in August between Kosovo’s government and Serbia. Opposition parties believe that the move could deepen the ethnic divide in Kosovo.
Kosovo, whose population is predominantly ethnic Albanian, declared independence from Serbia in 2008. It has so far received international recognition from about 100 countries. However, Belgrade refuses to recognize Kosovo’s independence.
Kosovo and Serbia were at war from 1998 to 1999, which ended after Serbian armed forces withdrew from the territory.