Kosovo’s government is to buy a new body scanner in an attempt to stop opposition members using tear gas in parliament.
Tear gas has been released during every session of parliament for the past six months by opposition MPs who have demanded the resignation of the government over deals with Serbia and Montenegro. They believe the deals could lead to outside interference in the country and to a reduction in Kosovo’s territory.
In their latest protest, opposition MPs on Thursday released two canisters of tear gas and pointed lasers at the interior minister’s face.
Police believe MPs hide the canisters on their body and under their clothes where the current scanners cannot detect them.
The government said the new scanner is similar to those used at airports to detect explosives and would cost around €270,000 ($300,000).
Kosovo parliament buys scanners to stop MPs bringing teargas to work https://t.co/7OojOUf5km
— The Guardian (@guardian) March 11, 2016
The opposition has been protesting against a European Union-brokered deal with Serbia agreed to in August. Under the terms of the deal, an association of Serb-majority municipalities in Kosovo would be created and permitted to receive funding from Serbia.
The apparent aim of the deal is to improve the integration of ethnic Serbs who make up 10 percent of the population. Critics say it will create a state within a state, allowing Serbia to interfere in Kosovor affairs.
The agreement has yet to take effect following a December ruling by the Constitutional Court that part of the deal was not constitutional.
A separate border deal with Montenegro has also been criticised by the opposition who say it gives Kosovo’s territory to its neighbor.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, 10 years after NATO air strikes helped drive out Serbian security forces accused of killing and expelling ethnic Albanian civilians.
Kosovo’s independence has been recognised by 112 countries but not by Serbia. Russian support of Serbia has blocked Kosovo from becoming a United Nations member.
Kosovo is finally putting a body scanner in parliament to stop this insanity https://t.co/amd3xvbh3b pic.twitter.com/sZPNQioJYH
— GP Investigations (@GlobalPost) March 10, 2016
(Image: Opposition politicians release tear gas in parliament to obstruct a session in Pristina, Kosovo on Feb. 19. Agron Beqiri/Reuters)