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Kosovo opposition leader arrested over parliament unrest

Published 28/11/2015

A supporter of the Kosovo opposition party sits in front of a police cordon during a police raid at the Self-Determination Movement headquarters in Pristina (AP)
A supporter of the Kosovo opposition party sits in front of a police cordon during a police raid at the Self-Determination Movement headquarters in Pristina (AP)

Police have entered the headquarters of Kosovo's main opposition party and arrested dozens, including one of its leaders who was wanted for the violent actions he has used to disrupt parliament.

Police said Albin Kurti and 86 others were arrested at the Self-Determination Movement Party's headquarters after tens of thousands of the opposition's supporters held a peaceful protest against the government's deals with Serbia and Montenegro.

During the past three months, opposition lawmakers in Kosovo have disrupted parliament work with tear gas, pepper spray, whistles and water bottles, demanding that the government renounce a deal with Serbia giving more powers to ethnic-Serb communities in Kosovo and another with Montenegro on border demarcation.

Another opposition politician had already been arrested for the disruptions and two others are still sought by police.

Organisers said Saturday's rally, on neighbouring Albania's national independence day, also celebrated by Kosovo Albanian brethren, attracted some 35,000 participants at the Zahir Pajaziti Square in downtown Pristina.

Despite a police arrest warrant for him, Mr Kurti spoke at the rally and was later accompanied by supporters to the party headquarters which were immediately surrounded by police.

Some opposition supporters tried to push police away from the road, but they were forced back by police who used pepper spray against them. Then police forces were seen entering the building and bringing out several opposition supporters.

Police said that two policemen and two opposition supporters were injured during the scuffling when they entered the party headquarters and were confronted by people who were hitting them with hard objects, chairs and other items.

The opposition has said it will continue to disrupt parliament work until the deals are renounced, while the government has accused the opposition of trying to come to power by force.

The next parliament session is set for Monday.

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