Members use tear gas to block vote in Kosovo parliament
- Author: Tracy Klein Mar 22, 2018,
Mar 22, 2018, 1:07
The tear gas was released by opposition party Levizja Vetvendosje, according to Avni Bytyçi, deputy chief of staff to the parliament's speaker.
The Movement for Self-Determination has a history of using tear gas to try to disrupt parliamentary proceedings. (EPA/Valdrin Xhemaj) Tear gas rises from a canister released by Kosovo opposition lawmakers.
Kosovo is the only country in the Balkans whose citizens need visas to travel to European Union member states.
It wasn't clear if the session would resume after the tear gas incident, AP said. Everyone inside the chamber was forced to leave.
Two members of the governing coalition were injured on Wednesday, but lawmakers nonetheless pledged that the vote would go forward.
Kosovo parliament has delayed the ratification of the border agreement reached in 2015 with Montenegro due to continuous protest and boycott from opposition parties.
The collapse of votes for the border demarcation agreement and another proposal seeking to give more rights to the ethnic Serb minority toppled the previous government and took the country to an early election a year ago. (EPA/Valdrin Xhemaj) Kosovo opposition politicians release tear gas in parliament to obstruct a session in Pristina. Experts dispute that claim, the Independent said.
Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj said before the start of the session they had the votes to pass the deal.
The ethnic Serb community's Serb List party with 10 seats wasn't present.
The move was also condemned by the EU's commissioner for enlargement Johannes Hahn, who said that "such behavior has no place in a democracy".
To halt the vote, party members released gas in the voting chamber before the vote could take place, and later again when Assembly members began to reconvene.
Montenegro, which has approved the deal, recognizes Kosovo's 2008 independence from Serbia, which Belgrade still rejects.