Protesters set Kosovo govt HQ on fire over deal with Serbia

A police vehicle is set on fire by protesters during clashes in Pristina, Kosovo January 9, 2016. © Agron Beqiri
Kosovo's government HQ has caught fire after anti-government protesters threw Molotov cocktails at the building. Police used tear gas to disperse protesters, who rallied against the government’s EU-mediated agreements with Serbia.

A fire broke out at the Kosovo government building in Pristina after angered protesters pelted it with petrol bombs, according to photos and reports from the scene.

Firefighters rushed to the scene to extinguish the fire while police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowds, according to Balkans-based reporters’ Twitter accounts. Protesters, in turn, pelted stones and bottles at security forces.

Photos show that an armored police car has also been set on fire by a Molotov cocktail.


Following clashes, protesters reportedly regrouped and sent fireworks at police.

Kosovo’s President Atifete Jahjaga has harshly condemned the violence and vandalism of public property by the protesters, in a statement on her Facebook page.

The protesters gathered on Saturday at the government HQ to rally against deal brokered by the European Union to give Kosovo's ethnic Serb minority greater local powers and the possibility of financing from Belgrade.

The majority of Kosovo’s population is Albanian. In 2008, Kosovo declared independence from Serbia. More than 100 countries have recognized Kosovo’s independence, though it isn’t accepted by Serbia and Russia.

READ MORE:Kosovo opposition uses tear gas in parliament to protest deals with Serbia, Montenegro (VIDEO)

In December, Kosovo's Constitutional Court rejected part of the deal between Kosovo and Serbia, which gave more executive rights to ethnic Serbs, saying that it violates the country’s constitution. Kosovo’s opposition has called for a referendum or fresh elections if the EU-mediated deal stays in place.