Kosovo police arrest dozens of opposition members in crackdown

More than 80 members of the Self-Determination Party were arrested:

Kosovar policemen detain a man at the Vetevendosje headquarters

Police in Kosovo have arrested a prominent opposition MP and 86 members of his party after he addressed a large anti-government protest.

Armed officers clashed with supporters of the main opposition party, who tried to prevent the arrest of their leader Albin Kurti, in the capital Pristina.

Mr Kurti has led a series of protests in parliament against agreements made with Serbia.

Opposition MPs have paralysed the work of parliament for weeks.

Prosecutors said in a statement that police had acted upon their order as Mr Kurti was suspected of committing three offences, including “endangering public order and the illegal use of weapons.”

Mr Kurti was arrested at his party’s headquarters in Pristina:

Kosovar policemen detain opposition lawmaker Albin Kurti (C) at the Vetevendosje headquartersI

Organisers say around 35,000 people participated in the protest:

Massive crowds gathered in a peaceful protest called by Kosovo's opposition

Supporters of the opposition tried to prevent Mr Kurti’s arrest;

A man sits in front of a cordon of policemen in riot gear during the demonstration

 

Mr Kurti, a former leader of the Self-Determination Party, has repeatedly released tear gas, and once pepper spray, in parliament to disrupt proceedings.

He has spearheaded opposition to a deal with Serbia, mediated by the EU in August, that gives greater autonomy to Kosovo’s ethnic Serb minority.

The deal with Serbia is now before Kosovo’s constitutional court.

The opposition also objects to a border demarcation deal with Montenegro that it says hands Kosovan territory to its neighbour.

Kosovo, which has an ethnic Albanian majority, declared independence from Serbia in 2008 but has never been recognised by the Belgrade government.

The split came a decade after a conflict between Serb forces and Kosovan Albanian rebels. A Nato bombing campaign against Belgrade in effect forced Serbia to cede the state.

Thousands of anti-government protesters gathered at a downtown Pristina square:

Kosovo policemen detain a man at the Vetevendosje headquarters after several thousand of supporters of opposition party gathered in downtown Pristina

Opposition supporters are angry about a deal made with Serbia:

A man waves his fist during the protest

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34954778

 

 

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