BELGRADE (Reuters) - Lawmakers pelted Kosovo’s prime minister with eggs on Tuesday as he addressed parliament, protesting over a deal with former master Serbia giving greater local powers to minority Serbs in the young Balkan country.
The opposition in majority-Albanian Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008, is angry over a deal brokered by the European Union last month giving Kosovo’s small Serb minority more rights over municipal spending and education and access to funding from Belgrade.
During a speech by Prime Minister Isa Mustafa broadcast live on Kosovo television, several opposition lawmakers suddenly stood and began throwing eggs at him. Mustafa’s bodyguard rushed to shield him with an umbrella.
Parliament speaker Kadri Veseli halted the session, shouting “Shame, shame, shame!” at the egg-throwing MPs.
Before he was interrupted, Mustafa defended the deal, saying the newly-created Association of Serb Municipalities would not have executive powers. His opponents say the move threatens to deepen an ethnic divide in Kosovo and have announced protests.
Kosovo seceded from Serbia in 2008, almost a decade after NATO intervened with air strikes to drive out Serbian forces and halt the killing and expulsion of ethnic Albanian civilians during a two-year counter-insurgency war.
Serbia does not recognize Kosovo as sovereign, but relations have improved in recent years as both seek to draw closer to membership of the European Union.
Reporting by Fatos Bytyci; Editing by Matt Robinson and Ralph Boulton