Protesters release tear gas to disrupt Kosovo president’s inauguration (VIDEO)
Pristina's Skenderbeg Square was briefly evacuated Friday while smoke cleared and the canister-wielding suspect was detained by police.
It’s no surprise the event was disrupted by protesters. Thaci’s oath of office in the Assembly of Kosovo a day earlier was boycotted by the opposition, who refuse to abide by the historic EU-brokered deal between Serbia and Kosovo, the partially-recognized state that declared independence in 2008.
The agreement aims to improve relations between Belgrade and the majority ethnic-Albanian province, which was occupied by NATO in 1999. While rejecting Kosovo’s declaration of independence, the pro-US government in Serbia wishes to join the EU, a process conditioned on “normalizing” relations with Pristina.
Thaci is still technically a wanted man in Serbia, due to his leadership in the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army in 1999, which Belgrade considers a terrorist organization. Thaci has insisted the deal is in Kosovo’s best interest. However, the opposition “Self-Determination” party argues that it gives preferential treatment to the few Serbs that still live in Kosovo, usually under armed NATO protection.