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Kosovo Police Clash With Protesters Against Privatization Deal

Protesters face a police barricade in front of a government building in Pristina on October 17.
Police in Kosovo have used pepper spray to disperse a crowd that was protesting a deal to privatize the country's electricity-distribution network.

The Kosovo government said on October 17 it sold the state-run power distributor to a Turkish consortium for 26.3 million euros ($34.5 million).

Kosovo -- which unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008 -- is one of Europe's poorest regions.

The government hopes privatization will kick-start the economy.

Critics say the privatization process is rife with corruption and the government is selling public and state-owned enterprises far below their market price.

Protesters chanted "thieves, thieves" and "it is our company" as riot police prevented them from approaching the government building where the sales contract was being signed.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP