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Sunday 18 March 2018

Demonstrators injured after Kosovo parliament tear gas protest

Tear gas smoke rises as scuffles break out between lawmakers in Kosovo's parliament (AP)
Tear gas smoke rises as scuffles break out between lawmakers in Kosovo's parliament (AP)

A police officer and two protesters have been injured in clashes in Kosovo a day after the opposition disrupted parliament with tear gas to protest against agreements with Serbia and Montenegro.

Police said 10 protesters were arrested as a few hundred opposition supporters threw petrol bombs and other objects outside the parliament building in the capital Pristina.

Local media said two protesters received treatment after being exposed to tear gas used by police.

The opposition Self-Determination Party condemned the police action.

"It is very important that these criminals understand soonest that there is no (police) violence to stop the civic revolt," it said in a statement.

Opposition lawmakers disrupted Friday's session of parliament, opening tear gas canisters and hurling plastic water bottles at the speaker and Cabinet ministers.

After failing twice to hold the parliament session, lawmakers of the two governing political parties moved to a different space in the building to meet - without their opponents.

Police said none of the lawmakers was injured or arrested.

This was the third session in which the opposition smuggled in tear gas despite tight police checks of everyone entering the building, including diplomats.

"Tear gas and violence have no place in Assembly chamber; such actions jeopardise Kosovo's future," US Ambassador Greg Delawie wrote on his Twitter feed.

The opposition had demanded cancellation of Friday's session unless the government renounced deals with Serbia to give more powers to Serb-dominated areas in Kosovo, and with Montenegro on border demarcation.

The government accuses the opposition of trying to come into power in an undemocratic way and insists it is set in applying the deals and continuing talks with Serbia.

Kosovo declared independence in 2008, a move not recognised by Serbia.

Press Association

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