Kosovo MPs stage new tear gas protes

'The people have turned their backs on the regime and the government must resign and respond to the people's will,' an opposition MP says

Kosovo MPs stage new tear gas protes

World Bulletin / News Desk

Opposition MPs in Kosovo disrupted the first parliamentary session of the year on Friday with what has become their commonplace method of protest -- releasing tear gas in the chamber.

Angry over a government deal with Serbia and demanding snap elections, the united opposition has effectively blocked parliamentary proceedings since October with their tear gas protests. 

They have also thrown eggs, fired pepper spray and blown whistles.

"The people have turned their backs on the regime and the government must resign and respond to the people's will," Visar Ymeri, head of the Self-Determination party, told MPs before the session began and a tear gas canister was opened.

Police officers in gas masks tried to recover the canister to prevent the gas spreading through the chamber but they were prevented by opposition MPs and the session was suspended.

About 200 opposition supporters gathered outside the parliament building in Pristina and chanted "Down with the government".

Thousands of protesters marched peacefully through Pristina on Wednesday, the eighth anniversary of Kosovo's independence from Serbia, calling for the government's resignation and new elections.

The opposition is against a deal with Belgrade, backed by the European Union, to create an association giving greater powers to Kosovo's Serb minority.

It fears the plan will deepen Kosovo's ethnic divisions and increase the influence of Serbia, which does not recognise Kosovo's sovereignty. 

Street protesters have also accused the authorities of widespread corruption, lagging development and a disregard for Muslim-majority Kosovo's 1.8 million people. 

Kosovo's pro-independence ethnic Albanian rebels fought a war against Serb forces in the late 1990s, which ended after a NATO bombing campaign against Serbia.

The deal between Pristina and Belgrade was reached during EU-mediated talks to "normalise" relations.

Last Mod: 19 Şubat 2016, 13:20
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