- Tear gas was released in Kosovo’s parliament on Wednesday.
- Opposition MPs threw the gas to stop a vote on a border agreement.
- The move would cede territory to neighbouring Montenegro, which many MPs fiercely oppose.
Kosovo’s parliament was evacuated after opposition MPs threw tear gas to prevent a vote on ceding territory to a neighbouring country.
The chamber, in the Kosovan capital of Pristina, was cleared and proceedings suspended after several canisters released the noxious gas around midday local time on Wednesday.
Lawmakers, who appear to be from several parties, threw the canisters to stop other MPs ratifying a border agreement with neighbouring Montenegro.
#Kosovo????????: Tear gas halts vote on border deal with #Montenegro???????? for second timehttps://t.co/0hBBpwgpRh – A second attempt of Kosovo’s parliament to vote on border demarcation with Montenegro today was halted by tear gas firing by the opposition party Vetevendosje. pic.twitter.com/EyPlNgzWKU
— DTT-NET English (@dtt_net_english) March 21, 2018
According to the Reuters news agency, the opposition Vetevendosje party regards the agreement as a wrongful surrender, which will cede around 30 square miles of Kosovan land.
It was signed by the Kosovan government in 2015, but needs approval from the parliament to make it official.
Previous attempts to ratify the agreement have led to similar protests involving tear gas in the 120-seat parliament and street clashes with police.
The border deal is important because it is a condition of Kosovo gaining visa-free travel to the EU, which Montenegro is in the process of joining.
Scenes from inside Kosovo's parliament today, where opposition Vetevendosje party released tear gas before the vote on border demarcation with Montenegro.
— Balkan Insight (@BalkanInsight) March 21, 2018