World Bulletin / News Desk
Kosovo police Saturday arrested a top opposition MP and 86 members of his party after he addressed a protest attended by several thousands who want a landmark deal with Serbia to be scrapped.
Albin Kurti, from the Self-Determination party, was arrested at his party premises in the capital Pristina, a police statement said.
Another 86 members of the party, who tried to prevent his arrest, were also detained, it said. The party' premises were sealed off by police after the arrests.
Meanwhile, the prosecutors said in a statement that police acted upon their order as Kurti was suspected of committing three offences, including "endangering public order and the illegal use of weapons."
Kurti, who was already questioned by police in October, is a leading figure among opposition MPs who have paralysed the work of the parliament for weeks.
He and other opposition deputies have been releasing tear gas in the parliament and protesting against the EU-brokered agreement giving more local powers toKosovo's ethnic Serb minority.
Riots broke out earlier this month in the streets of the capital, which were denounced by the government and foreign observers.
Earlier Saturday, Kurti along with other opposition leaders addressed anti-government protesters who had massed for a two-hour rally in Pristina.
The opposition is also opposing a border deal with Montenegro.
"We urge the government: Don't endanger Kosovo!" the head of the opposition Initiative for Kosovo party, Fatmir Limaj, told the crowd at a downtown Pristina square. He called for snap elections to be held to resolve the crisis.
The opposition is against the agreement that Kosovoreached with Serbia to set up an association of Serb minority-run municipalities.
It says this will deepen Kosovo's ethnic divide and increase the influence of Serbia from which Pristina declared independence in 2008.
They also reject the border demarcation deal with Montenegro, arguing it has led to a loss of territory.
Serbia does not recognise its former province's independence and the dialogue brokered by the European Union is designed to improve relations between the two sides which fought a war in 1998 and 1999.
In October, Kosovo's constitutional court suspended the implementation of the controversial association of Serb-run municipalities pending further review.
President Donald Trump repeated his call, meanwhile, for arming some of America's teachers and claimed the controversial proposal was increasingly drawing support.
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