Police clash with students in Kosovo, dozens reported injured

A protester throws rocks at police officers during clashes in the rectorate's courtyard at the University of Pristina. Photo by Reuters
A protester throws rocks at police officers during clashes in the rectorate's courtyard at the University of Pristina. Photo by Reuters

About 30 police officers were injured in the Kosovo capital Pristina on Friday in clashes with students protesting over suspicions of fraud in the state university, police said.

A police spokeswoman, Florije Ahmeti, said the clashes began when protesters started throwing rocks and red paint at police, who then fired teargas at the students.

One policeman suffered head injury and several others were reported to have their legs or arms broken, she said, adding that more than 30 students were arrested.

Students have been protesting for weeks after reports in the Kosovo media accused professors at the university of publishing works in fake online journals in order to get academic credentials.

In a statement, the governing body of the university asked the protesting students to give them time to do its job "and undertake measures against all those who are responsible for this situation".

The Kosovo parliament failed to pass a vote demanding that the head of the university resign, with coalition government political parties opposing the move.

The economic backdrop to the student protests is very widespread unemployment, estimated to be between 35 and 45 percent. About 30,000 people enter the job market every year but only a few of them find work. Kosovo remains one of the poorest countries in Europe six years after declaring independence from Serbia. 

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