Pristina, 22 June (AKI) – Thousands of people protested on Wednesday in the Kosovo capital of Pristina against corruption, demanding the resignation of prime minister Hashim Thaci a ”thief” and demanding his government ‘s resignation.
The protesters, organized by the opposition movement Vetevendosje (Self-Determination), also called for unification of Kosovo with neighboring Albania and demanded interruption of talks between Pristina and Belgrade.
Kosovo’s majority Albanians declared independence from Serbia in February 2008, which Belgrade opposes. But Belgrade and Pristina have agreed to European Union sponsored talks on resolving outstanding problems which would improve lives of ordinary people.
Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti accused the government of corruption and crime, saying “politicians are the richest people in Kosovo. During the day they work as politicians and at night they are businessmen,” Kurti said.
“They are stealing from the budget by setting up tenders to their friends who later finance their election campaigns,” Kurti said. The protesters carried banners reading “Hasim the Thief” and calling for unification with Albania.
The protest passed without incidents and deputy prime minister Hajredin Kuci said it will be remembered only by insults hurled at the government.
“Kosovo is the poorest country in Europe, with the biggest rate of unemployment, now we are leading in biggest corruption rate as well,” another Vetevendosje leader, Spend Ahmeti, told the crowd.
Thousands in Kosovo protest against corruption and mismanagement
Thousands of ethnic Albanians protested peacefully against alleged government corruption and embezzlement of public funds.
Opposition leader Albin Kurti told those gathered Wednesday that Prime Minister Hashim Thaci’s government is rigging public tenders and selling off public enterprises. The government has denied such accusations in the past.
The protesters chanted “Thieves” and carried banners against the privatization of the country’s Post and Telecom Company, or PTK.
An EU police mission has launched a series of investigations into alleged embezzlement of public funds by senior officials, including the top management of the PTK that plans to sell 75 per cent of it shares by the end of the year.
Kosovo that seceded from Serbia in 2008 is considered on of Europe’s poorest regions.