Protest tents go up in Pristina's main square

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By Catherine Hardy  with Reuters
Protest tents go up in Pristina's main square

Hundreds of Kosovars have erected tents in Pristina’s main square.

We will stay here until the government goes home

They are demanding snap elections and the suspension of a parliamentary vote that will bring in a president who helped broker a deal giving more powers to the ethnic Serb minority.

Opposition parties accuse presidential candidate Hashim Thaci of nepotism and corruption. Thaci is also deputy prime minister and the head of parliament’s biggest party, the PDK.

The former prime minister denies the accusations.

The government says opposition party leaders are provoking violence and trying to drag Kosovo into “crime and anarchy”.

Why are they protesting?

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, almost a decade after NATO air strikes drove out Serb forces accused of killing and expelling ethnic Albanians during a counter-insurgency.

Many Kosovo Albanians believe last year’s accord with Serbia represents a threat to the country’s hard-won sovereignty.

However, its exact status is unclear after the constitutional court ruled in December that parts of it breach the country’s laws.

What they are saying

“Kosovo cannot be governed by politicians who have endangered the country’s sovereignty.”Visar Ymeri, leader of Vetevendosje, the largest opposition party.