Kosovo police use tear gas to clear anti-gov't protesters

AP News
Posted: Jan 27, 2015 10:27 AM
Kosovo police use tear gas to clear anti-gov't protesters

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Police in Kosovo fired volleys of tear gas and used water cannons Tuesday to disperse thousands of stone-throwing anti-government protesters demanding the resignation of a minister who had denied that war crimes were committed against ethnic Albanians during the 1998-99 war with Serbia.

At least 37 people were injured, including 22 policemen, during a series of clashes in city streets between riot police and protesters, officials said.

The protesters pelted officers with stones, Molotov cocktails and other objects, in what is one of the worst bouts of violence to hit Kosovo since this former Serbian province declared its independence in 2008.

The clashes follow a week of demonstrations throughout Kosovo organized by opposition parties, who are demanding the dismissal of Aleksandar Jablanovic, a Kosovo government minister who is a Serb, and whose comments minimizing Serbia's role in the war have especially angered the families of some 1,000 ethnic Albanians still missing.

Some 10,000 people died in the war when Serbian troops launched a brutal crackdown on separatist ethnic Albanians. The violence was halted by NATO's 78-day bombing of Serbia in 1999 that forced Belgrade to give up control of the overwhelmingly ethnic Albanian territory.

Albin Kurti, an opposition leader, said they will continue with protests until Jablanovic is dismissed.