Kosovo opposition tries to disrupt president's inauguration

AP News
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Posted: Apr 08, 2016 8:19 AM
Kosovo opposition tries to disrupt president's inauguration

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Opposition supporters in Kosovo launched tear gas Friday to try to disrupt the inauguration ceremony for the country's new president, Hashim Thaci.

Canisters were launched before the start of the ceremony at Pristina's main Skenderbeg Square, but it later continued normally.

The opposition has been disrupting parliamentary sessions in Kosovo since last September to protest a deal between Kosovo and Serbia that gives more powers to ethnic Serbs in Kosovo and another on a border demarcation pact with Montenegro.

Those who threw the canisters Friday were scattered in small groups surrounding the chairs for the guests. The incident occurred just before the main guests would sit down at the first line of chairs, although some diplomats were already there.

Police detained around half a dozen opposition supporters while the others were pushed away.

The main opposition Self-Determination Movement Party took responsibility for throwing the tear gas, broadcasting a short movie of the action in its Facebook site.

"Hashim Thaci is not and will never be the president of the Republic of Kosovo," they said. "We shall not recognize and accept him as the president of our Republic. We shall continuously and without compromise oppose him. As we did today!"

Thaci, 47, assumed his post Thursday in a swearing-in ceremony at the Parliament.

The opposition boycotted that, as well as the vote Feb. 26, which it also tried to disrupt with tear gas. Its later request to void the voting was turned down by the Constitutional Court.

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Llazar Semini in Tirana, Albania contributed to this report.