June 27, 2013
PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Kosovo police used pepper spray and batons to disperse a crowd of several hundred hardline opposition supporters who tried to stop lawmakers from holding a vote in support of a deal with Serbia.
Security intervened and removed several opposition members who scuffled with the speaker of the Parliament in an attempt to prevent the deal being put to vote. The agreement does not resolve the dispute over Kosovo’s 2008 secession from Serbia. Serbia does not recognize Kosovo’s statehood.
Kosovo is a former province of Serbia that broke away to form an independent state after a 1998-99 war in which Serbs were accused of expulsions and random killings of ethnic Albanians, who make up 92 percent of Kosovo’s population. NATO bombed Serbian targets for two months in response.
Dozens were detained by police in riot gear on Thursday outside Kosovo’s government and Parliament. Lawmakers voted 84-3 in favor of the agreement to normalize relations. Members of Self-Determination, an opposition political grouping that opposes talks with Serbia unfolded banners suggesting the deal gives Kosovo territory to Serbia.
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