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news 18 Nov 15

Violence Flares Again in Renewed Kosovo Protests

New protests erupted in Pristina for few hours on Wednesday evening with protesters throwing stones at the government building and burning cars after an opposition MP was detained for setting off tear gas in parliament.

Ervin Qafmolla

Pristina saw a second outbreak of protest violence on Wednesday, after a court ruled that Donika Kadaj Bujupi, an MP from the opposition Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, AAK, will be detained for 30 days ahead of her trial.

Protesters threw stones at the government building and a car was set ablaze near the University of Pristina amid confrontations between opposition supporters and police.

After several hours, Vetevendosje MP Rexhep Selimi announced an end to today's protests. Selimi said the protest may continue tomorrow and in the following days.

The protest ended in the evening. The streets of Pristina are now calm and police roadblocks have been removed.

Protests first started on Wednesday morning  in the streets of Pristina with pro-opposition activists demanding Bujupi's immediate release. Bujupi is accused of setting off tear gas in Kosovo’s parliament chamber. Arrest warrants have also been issued for other opposition MPs on similar charges.

Riot police intervened and dispersed the protesters but the relative calm was shattered later in the day when demonstrators renewed their protest.


As well as arresting Bujupi, police also searched the homes of Albin Kurti and Albulena Krasniqi, both MPs from the opposition Vetevendosje [Self-determination] movement.
Kurti appeared in the crowd during the Wednesday morning protest despite a warrant for his arrest.

Police have also issued an arrest warrant for another Vetevendosje MP, Faton Topalli, over the tear-gas incidents in parliament.

Kosovo’s three main opposition parties, Vetevendosje, the AAK, and the Initiative for Kosovo, Nisma, called the arrest of Kadaj-Bujupi politically motivated.

The three opposition parties have blocked the work of parliament since early October, demanding that the Kosovo government scrap its recent agreement with Serbia, which among other things opens a way for the establishment of an Association of Serbian Municipalities with wide-ranging powers.

Shasivar Haxhiaj, political adviser to the Kosovo minister of Agriculture.He was stopped by protesters and was dragged out of the vehicle by force. While Haxhiaj suffered no visible injuries, protesters then damaged the vehicle, before being pushed back by the police. Photo:BIRN.

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