Kosovo war veterans fight with the police and want higher pensions

PRISTINA (Kosovo) -- Police said that hundreds of veterans of the Kosovo War clashed Monday with officers at a demonstration demanding higher pensions.

Kosovo war veterans fight with the police and want higher pensions

PRISTINA (Kosovo) -- Police said that hundreds of veterans of the Kosovo War clashed Monday with officers at a demonstration demanding higher pensions. At least three people were injured.

Members of the War Veterans Organization of the Kosovo Liberation Arm (KLA) were kept away by police from the Parliament in Pristina. There, lawmakers were discussing a proposal to increase the minimum wage from 170 euros ($182) up to 250 euros ($268) per monthly.

Over 30,000 veterans of war receive 170 euros per monthly for their pensions, but they were not included in draft law which was not passed.

Despite the tear gas being fired, they managed to force their way into the Parliament building's courtyard. They tried to get into the hall, but were stopped by a police cordon.

Police claimed that during the unannounced protest, participants tried to forcefully enter the Parliament building doors and used tear gas against officers. Although police denied using tear gas against protesters, local media reported photos of at least one officer using it.

According to police, two officers and one civilian were hurt in clashes.

The Kosovo Liberation Army led the 1998-1999 struggle to separate from Serbia. Its main leaders are currently being tried by a European Union-backed court in The Hague (Netherlands) for war crimes.

Before a NATO bombing campaign forced Serbia out of the country, more than 13,000 people died, most of them ethnic Albanians. The United States and most other Western countries recognized Kosovo's independence from Serbia in 2008. However, it was not recognized by Serbia and its allies Russia or China.

Two leaders of the Kosovo War Veterans' Association were sentenced by The Hague Court to 4 1/2 years imprisonment for witness intimidation, obstruction of justice and publishing confidential documents "relating to investigations and internal work" of prosecutors.

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