Kosovo police crackdown on opposition

Opposition leader Albin Kurti, supporters arrested during police raid on party headquarters

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Leader of the opposition movement "Vetevendosje: "Self-determination" and MP Albin Kurti leaves the headquarters of his movement after he is arrested by Kosovo police for setting off tear gas in the parliamentary chamber in capital Pristina, November 28

Kosovo’s opposition leader Albin Kurti and 86 of his colleagues were arrested after police raided the Self-Determination Movement Party's headquarters on Saturday.

According to reports, the opposition party members were arrested for violent disruptions of the parliament, after numerous instances of tear gas and pepper spray being released in the parliament building.

Kurti’s party is opposed to a deal agreed between Kosovo and Serbia, which will see more powers given to Kosovo’s minority Serb community.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 after a NATO intervention a decade earlier helped the ethnic Albanian majority region to split from the Belgrade government.

Serbia, however, is yet to recognise Kosovo’s independence.

The party is also opposed to a border demarcation agreement with neighbouring Montenegro, which will see territory belonging to Kosovo given up.

Police raided the party’s headquarters following a protest attended by 35,000 supporters in downtown Pristina, at which Kurti spoke.

An arrest warrant had already been issued for Kurti, who was accused of "endangering public order and the illegal use of weapons."

Two police officers were injured in minor clashes during the raid.

TRTWorld and agencies