Kosovo top opposition leader, 2 other lawmakers arrested - InfoNews

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Kosovo top opposition leader, 2 other lawmakers arrested

Opposition lawmakers try to prevent police officers from arresting Kosovo top opposition lawmaker Albin Kurti, center, on his way to a parliamentary session on Friday, Nov. 24, 2017, in Kosovo capital Pristina. Kosovo police arrested top opposition leader Albin Kurti and two other lawmakers accused of disrupting the works of the previous parliament with tear gas and violent acts. (AP Photo)
November 24, 2017 - 6:58 AM

PRISTINA, Kosovo - Kosovo police on Friday arrested a top opposition leader and two other lawmakers accused of disrupting the work of the previous parliament with tear gas and violent acts. A court later ordered all three to be detained for a month.

Albin Kurti, Donika Kadaj Bujupi and Albulena Haxhiu of the left-wing Self-Determination Party were arrested while entering the parliament building. The arrests came after they did not appear at hearings in their trials for using tear gas at parliament.

Police used tear gas to disperse some opposition supporters trying to block their minivan that was taking Kurti. Police said five officers were injured in the clashes.

Visar Ymeri, leader of the Self-Determination Party, denounced the "brutal arrest of the three lawmakers based on political orders" and called it a "continuation of the overall persecution of Self-Determination during recent times."

Since the signing of a border demarcation agreement with Montenegro in August 2015 the opposition has contested it, saying Kosovo is ceding territory — a claim denied by the previous government and international experts. The protesters disrupted parliamentary work, using tear gas canisters, blowing whistles and throwing water bottles.

Approval of the deal is a pre-condition for a visa-free regime for Kosovo citizens in the European Union's Schengen countries.

Political tension in the country remains high over who won a mayoral election last month. It is not yet clear whether Self-Determination will keep the mayor's post in the capital Pristina or if it will go to the other now-opposition Democratic League of Kosovo.

Another issue compounding the tensions is a special court established to prosecute crimes committed during and immediately after Kosovo's 1998-1999 war with Serbia for independence. It is expected to issue indictments against former independence fighters.

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Associated Press writer Llazar Semini contributed from Tirana, Albania.

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Follow Semini on Twitter at https://twitter.com/lsemini

News from © The Associated Press, 2017
The Associated Press

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