Tens of thousands of Kosovo opposition supporters have held a protest against the deals with Serbia and Montenegro – a peaceful one in contrast to recent disruption of parliament — [AP]
Organisers said Saturday’s rally, on the national Independence Day, attracted some 35,000 participants at the Zahir Pajaziti Square downtown Pristina.
Despite police arrest warrant for him, Abin Kurti, a leader of the opposition Self-Determination Movement, spoke against the government’s deals.
One opposition lawmaker has been arrested and three others, including Kurti, are wanted by police over the disruption of the Parliament work during the last three months with tear gas, pepper spray, whistles and water bottles, demanding that the government renounce a deal with Serbia giving more powers to ethnic-Serb communities in Kosovo and another with Montenegro on border demarcation.
The opposition parties have promised a “peaceful march” on November 28, the day that marks Albania’s declaration of independence from the Ottoman Empire 103 years ago, and have invited everyone to join them with their families.
TIRANË — Kosovo Opposition parties have called on all Albanians to join them on this emblematic day and express their disapproval for what they see as a “real danger to Kosovo’s sovereignty”.
In Tirana, the capital of Albania yesterday, the opposition Vetevendosje [Self-Determination] party invited the citizens of neighbouring Albania to come and join the rally in Kosovo BIRN reported.
Three opposition parties in Kosovo, Vetevendosje, the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, AAK and Nisma, few weeks ago announced the rally in Zahir Pajaziti Square in Pristina as a continuation of their earlier protests against the government agreements, reached in Brussels.
In the past two months the opposition has disrupted the work of the Parliament using tear gas and pepper spray, whistles and water bottles, demanding that the government renounce a deal with Serbia giving more powers to ethnic-Serb communities and another with Montenegro on border demarcation.
Outside the building their supporters have violently clashed with police, causing injuries and damage, local media reported.
On Wednesday one opposition lawmaker was arrested and three arrest warrants for other lawmakers were issued but police could not find them.
Scores of opposition supporters regularly gather at the main Pristina squares throwing stones and paint against the government buildings, burning or damaging cars. Police respond with tear gas and follow them in the capital’s streets with armoured vehicles. The opposition has used tear gas canisters, hurled eggs and plastic water bottles or blown whistles to stop holding normal assembly sessions. The assembly sessions are keep being postponed due to opposition resistance. Even though a number of parliament sessions were postponed fearing the opposition teargas protests the landlocked country’s assembly is almost paralysed.
The opposition says no more parliamentary sessions should be held unless the government renounces deals with Serbia to give more powers to Serb-dominated areas in Kosovo, and with Montenegro on border demarcation, which among other things opens a way for the establishment of an Association of Serbian Municipalities with wide-ranging powers.
After a conflict between Yugoslav forces of Serbia and Albanian rebels in 1999, NATO intervened with air strikes bombing Serbian forces of Yugoslavia for 78 days, in a bid to stop the massacre and ethnic cleansing of Serb forces against Kosovo Albanians, a violence, which had caused a wide rebellion in the region.
NATO’s intervention eventually forced the Serbian Parliament to grant political autonomy for Kosovo, while keeping it within its territorial borders. Nine years after the war, Kosovo declared its independence, but its status as the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo, has been recognised only by the 111 countries of the 193 member states of the United Nations.
Kosovo in 2008 declared independence from Serbia, but that is not recognized by Belgrade. The two sides are holding EU-led talks to overcome their differences.
NATO still present
Serbian forces were pushed out of Kosovo by NATO bombing in 1999, and some 5,000 NATO troops are still stationed there in Kosovo, alongside several hundred EU police officers. Kosovo’s independence, proclaimed in 2008, remains disputed by Serbia. The country is also burdened by corruption and poverty, with the official unemployment rate at 50 percent.
NATO files published in 2011 in international media, showed that the United States and some other Western powers who supported Kosovo’s government has extensive knowledge (for a few years!) of the criminal connections of former head of rebels and also PDK leader Hashim Thaçi and some members of other political parties in the country.
Kosovo is the poorest and most isolated country in Europe, with millionaires politicians steeped in crime. A third of the workforce is unemployed, and corruption is widespread. About two in three under the age of 25 are currently unemployed, and nearly 50% of the 1.8 million citizens of Kosovo are considered to be poor. During last December only, more then 200-thousands of Kosovars were forced to leave the country in an effort to find a better life, studies and more dignified jobs.
The country is ranked of those ‘partially free’ at ‘Freedom House’s freedom index. Press freedoms and human rights are at its stake. Ninth suspicious death of a member of media personnel has occurred this October, whose perpetrators enjoy the impunity. EU Progress Report of 2015 qualifies its justice system with very low performance and highly influenced by outlawed forces.
June elections 2014 marked also the death of two well known political activists; Elvis Pista an elected MP of ruling PDK, as well as the secretary of ‘Vetëvendosje Arbënor Dehari whose death went very silently. These unreported casualties resulted after the political tensions rose between the ‘opposition united coalition front’ and ruling PDK party in the aftermath of the elections.
Hundreds of youth Kosovar participate in various Middle Eastern armed conflicts. THE Frontliner findings suggest significant prove of allegations of involvement of state authorities to encourage them to join the ranks of armed groups involved in crimes and war crimes against humanity.