PRISTINA (Reuters) - Hundreds of ethnic Albanians protesting against normalizing ties with neighboring Serbia clashed with riot police in front of the government and parliament buildings in Kosovo’s capital on Thursday, a Reuters witness said.
The police, in full riot gear, used pepper spray to disperse the crowd, but also tried to push it back by force to clear the entrances to the buildings. Several protesters were handcuffed and arrested.
The protest in Pristina was organized by an opposition party which objects to an EU-brokered deal reached in April that would give Kosovo’s Serbs a limited degree of autonomy.
In return, Belgrade agreed to cede its last remaining foothold in its former province and stop supporting some 50,000 Serbs in the north who have so far defied Pristina’s authority.
The agreement, which will allow Serbia and Kosovo to start moving closer towards European Union membership, should end the ethnic partition of majority-Albanian Kosovo, five years after it seceded from Serbia.
Reporting by Fatos Bytyci; writing by Zoran Radosavljevic; Editing by Mark Trevelyan