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Thousands in Kosovo urge government to resign

17 February 2016 20:34



Opposition supporters in Kosovo took to the streets on Wednesday to protest against the government as the country marks the eighth anniversary of independence from Serbia.

Thousands of people from all over Kosovo came to the capital, Pristina, for the demonstration, urging the government to resign.

Chanting slogans at the Skanderbeg Square and waving large Albanian flags, the protesters said the government is violating the constitution in reaching deals with Serbia and Montenegro.

“Kosovo will not allow itself to be led by people who have violated the constitution, its sovereignty,” said Visar Ymeri, leader of the main opposition Self-Determination Movement party.

He said the government will have until February 27 to resign, adding the protests will continue non-stop.

The opposition in Kosovo has been against a deal the Western-backed government reached with Serbia last year. Kosovo’s constitutional court has also declared that parts of the deal are against the constitution.

The protesters said the government is planning to offer Serbia a chance to make political and territorial intervention in the country.

The opposition is also opposed to a similar deal on border demarcation with Montenegro. It accuses the authorities of widespread corruption and disregard for the Muslim majority.

A similar protest is planned for Friday, when Kosovo’s parliament may begin discussing the election of a new president. Opposition parties say such a vote is meaningless at a time when people demand that the government leave office.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hashim Thaci of the Democratic Party of Kosovo is the only self-declared candidate so far. The opposition has called for a new referendum or a new election.

The protest came as the government held earlier in the day a ceremony to celebrate the eighth anniversary of the 2008 unilateral independence declaration. Kosovo’s independence is recognized by 111 countries, including the United States and major European Union nations, but the country has yet to become a United Nations member. Serbia rejects Kosovo’s independence.

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