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Kosovo opposition party blasts Parliament with tear gas to stop border vote

Members of the Self-Determination Movement set off three tear gas canisters in the chamber

by Alexa Liautaud
Mar 21 2018, 11:00am

An opposition party in Kosovo resorted to extreme tactics in Parliament Wednesday to halt a vote they say would surrender part of the country’s territory to Montenegro.

Members of the Self-Determination Movement set off three tear gas canisters in a Parliament session in the capital Wednesday, filling the room with clouds of smoke and forcing members to evacuate.

The vote, which failed on several previous occasions, would ratify an agreement with Kosovo’s neighbor Montenegro signed in 2015. The vote is a precondition for allowing Kosovo citizens to travel without visas throughout the European Union’s Schengen area, where the EU member states impose no border control. The opposition party, which is adamantly against the agreement, argues it would give away 8,200 hectares (20,000 acres) in the process. Kosovo has been seeking EU membership for 10 years.

Nataliya Apostolova, the European Union's ambassador, said on Twitter that she was "appalled” by the tear gas and “shocked that members of a parliament in Europe are resorting to dangerous tactics pulling Kosovo backwards.

She called on the politicians to return to the parliamentary chamber to vote.

U.S. Ambassador to Kosovo Greg Delawie also took to Twitter to denounce using “violence as a political tool” and urged MPs to vote for the demarcation agreement.

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