Europe

Kosovo MPs stage tear gas protest in parliament

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Media captionOpposition MPs threw tear gas, causing a commotion in the chamber

Opposition MPs in Kosovo have let off tear gas in the national parliament chamber in a noisy protest over a government deal with Serbia.

The gas disrupted the session and made two MPs faint. There were also loud whistles and insults from the opposition, Kosovapress news reported.

The EU-brokered deal grants more powers to the mainly Serb areas of Kosovo.

Kosovo's ethnic Albanians broke away from Serbia in an armed revolt in 1999, then declared independence in 2008.

The new deal - to establish an "Association/Community of Serb majority municipalities" - endangers Kosovo's territorial integrity, opposition MPs argue.

Both Serbia and Kosovo have begun negotiations aimed at eventual EU membership, though Serbia has made more progress on that path.

Kosovo's government denounced the opposition's actions, blamed on opposition party leader Albin Kurti, as beyond "the bounds of institutional and democratic behaviour".

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Image caption The protest underlined Kosovo's continuing tensions with Serbia

Ramush Haradinaj, head of the opposition Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK), warned of "even bigger actions than throwing tear gas... in the assembly chamber".

"It is not a big deal that two MPs passed out, compared to what future actions are going to be," he said, quoted by Kosovapress.

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