Kosovo opposition politician Albin Kurti has been released from detention after protesters and police clashed over his arrest in the capital Pristina.
Kurti was released early Tuesday morning.
Earlier, clouds of tear gas filled streets as police drove back several hundred protesters lobbing stones and concrete at the main police station to demand the release of Kurti, a member of parliament and founder of the opposition’s Self-Determination party.
Parliamentary member Glauk Konjufca, also from the opposition party, said that police had not been able to produce an arrest warrant for Kurti.
“They said they can’t tell us why Albin Kurti should be arrested. We asked them about the warrant, and they said they don’t have one,” Konjufca said.
“Things like this are not happening in democratic countries … The government must have ordered this.”
Kurti’s arrest followed an incident in parliament last week in which he opened a tear gas canister, forcing the evacuation of MPs in protest against a European Union-brokered deal to give more local powers to Kosovo’s ethnic Serb minority.
Kosovo declared independence in 2008 with the backing of the West, almost a decade after NATO undertook 11 weeks of air strikes to halt the killing and expulsion of ethnic Albanian civilians by Serbian forces.
It has been recognised by over 100 countries, but not by Serbia or Russia.
The EU sees the 2013 deal, still being implemented, as a way to cement stability in the former Yugoslavia, but Kurti – who was jailed by Serbia for agitating against Belgrade’s rule of majority-Albanian Kosovo during the 1990s – says it represents a threat to Kosovo’s hard-won sovereignty.
As the violence subsided, Kurti appeared outside parliament to address supporters, accusing police of “being in the service of daily politics”.
“I call on you not to stop until we prevent the creation of the ‘community’,” he said, in reference to an association of ethnic Serb municipalities in Kosovo that will have greater control over local affairs.
Ninety percent of Kosovo’s 1.8 million people are ethnic Albanians.