(MENAFN - The Journal Of Turkish Weekly) The ruling that parts of the Brussels-brokered agreements with Serbia were unconstitutional swelled the ranks ofopposition protesters who caused unrest on the streets of Pristina on Saturday experts suggested.
“The decision of the Constitutional Court has given the opposition a strong weapon that they can continue to [use to] oppose the government and the agreements that were reached” Pristina-based analyst Imer Mushkolaj told BIRN.
Up to 60000 people took part in the biggest protest yet against the establishment of an association of Serb-majority municipalities within Kosovo and a border demarcation deal with Montenegro both of which were agreed by the Pristina government in Brussels in 2015.
Previous opposition protests last year only attracted between several dozen and a few hundred hard-core supporters.
The large rally marked a shift in the opposition parties’ demands – they are now not only asking for Prime Minister Isa Mustafa’s government to scrap the agreements with Serbia and Montenegro but also for him to resign and for snap elections to be held.
But the protest ended in chaos as some young protesters threw stones and petrol bombs set part of the government building on fire and clashed with police in the streets.
On December 23 the Constitutional Court ruled that some of the principles of the agreement with Serbia did not comply with the constitution.
Mushkolaj said that the court’s decision boosted public support for the opposition cause and emboldened the three opposition parties - Vetevendosje (Self-Determination) the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo and Nisma (Initiative for Kosovo).
While previous opposition protests focused their slogans on the territorial integrity of Kosovo the slogan used at Saturday’s protest was “For a sovereign state against an unconstitutional government”.
Agon Maliqi editor of S-Bunker a political analysis and opinion website also said he believed that the court ruling has increased public support for the opposition.
“I think that it has definitely given momentum to the cause and the turnout at the protest was a symptom of that” Maliqi told BIRN.
He said that Saturday’s large turnout convinced the opposition that its recent controversial strategy of setting off tear gas in parliament to block proceedings was valid even though it was criticised by Kosovo’s international allies.
“According to the opposition this gives extra ammunition and arguments to say that the radical measures such as the tear gas in parliament were justified. And they have said that they will continue along the same path” he said.
Glauk Konjkufca an MP from Vetevendosje told BIRN that he believed that the court’s decision was affected by the opposition pressure and that the ruling had naturally led to a call for Mustafa’s administration to step down.
“It’s normal when the Constitutional Court decides that the government has violated 23 articles of the constitution that a new demand for the resignation of the government inevitably arises” Konjufca said.
He said he didn’t know if the court’s ruling had caused the number of protesters to increase.
“We can’t know this but the fact that the opposition argument about the ‘Zajednica’ [the Serbian word for ‘association’] was confirmed on top of civic dissatisfaction with the government’s actions has made citizens join us massively” he said