Politicians throw tear gas in Kosovo's parliament

22 March, 2018, 01:10 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Enver Hoxhaj

Opposition leaders in Kosovo launched tear gas into the country's parliament on Wednesday as they attempted to prevent ratification of a new border with Montenegro. It wasn't immediately clear when the session would start again. Tear gas is not a European thing.

The deal is set as a precondition by the European Union for Kosovo's citizens to freely travel within its visa-free travel zone known as Schengen.

Live footage from March 21 shows MPs hastily exiting the chamber as smoke billows out, apparently from multiple tear gas bombs.

Two members of the governing coalition were injured on Wednesday, but lawmakers nonetheless pledged that the vote would go forward.

The party claimed they were unhappy with the details of the agreement, which they said would see Kosovo lose 20,000 acres of its territory to Montenegro - but experts have disputed this figure. The previous government and worldwide experts deny that claim.

The opposition party, now divided in two groups because of internal frictions, has used tear gas and similar tactics to disrupt parliament over the past three years.


Kosovo, a tiny nation that unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008, must ratify a 2015 border agreement with its neighbor Montenegro in order to obtain visa-free travel to members of the European Union.

The ethnic Serb community's Serb List party with 10 seats wasn't present.

The United States and 23 of the EU's 28 member states now recognize Kosovo as an independent country.

President Hashim Thaci, who signed the deal in 2015 when he was foreign minister, denounced "the unsafe tactics of the opponents of the visa liberalization".

EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Policy Johannes Hahn wrote on on Twitter that he strongly condemns the use of teargas in the Kosovo Assembly. "Now it is just a matter of how the parliament chairmanship will make it possible for the session to take place having in mind the tear gas and other acts of sabotage", Maliqi said.

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