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Goran Bregovič’s concert in Albania disrupted by nationalists and tear gas – PRAVDA.sk

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The concert of the Serbian-Croatian singer Goran Bregović in the Albanian town of Korçë marked an incident in which listeners were hit by tear gas.

Albanian police said they had arrested two men in this regard. The singer, best known for his music for Emir Kusturica’s films, has faced calls for a boycott by Albanian nationalists in recent weeks over his alleged attitudes toward the war in Kosovo.

Police said in a statement today that they had arrested a 21-year-old man suspected of throwing tear gas into the crowd. According to her, the incident did not interrupt Bregovič’s concert from Sunday evening, but for some spectators the gas irritated the eyes and caused breathing difficulties. Another man was arrested after trying to defend a suspected attacker from the police.

Boycott of musicians

The incident took place after weeks of protests against Bregovič’s impending performance at the Korçë beer festival. Musicians from Kosovo, who were to perform at a festival in a city in southeastern Albania, canceled their participation and called on the Albanian authorities to ban Bregovic’s concert.

As an argument, they stated, among other things, that the singer’s well-known song Kalashnikov “inspired the massacres” during the war in Kosovo. They did not submit evidence for their claims.

The Albanian branch of the Self-Determination movement, the nationalist ruling party in Kosovo, has denied any responsibility for the incident, although it protested against the singer’s performance and organized a demonstration last week under the slogan “Bregovic, genocide drummer”, Balkan Insight said.

====== Music that connects ====== The performance of the Serbian musician was also openly opposed by Albanian football “ultras”, who, according to the server, announced that they would “not stop until they cancel the concert”. However, it is not clear whether the release of tear gas into the crowd is the fault of any of its members.

Read more Bregovič: Gypsy music will never go out of style

On the eve of the concert, Korçë officials said that Bregović and his music “would send the message that art and culture are bridges of friendship that unite people”.

Bregović was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia to a Serbian mother and a Croatian father. In Yugoslav times, he became famous with the band Bijelo Dugme, and gained international acclaim with his compositions based on motifs taken from Balkan folk music and film music for Kusturica.

The war for Kosovo’s independence from Serbia from 1998 to 1999 claimed more than 10,000 lives, mostly Kosovo Albanians. The fighting ended after NATO airstrikes, which bombed Serbian positions. Kosovo, dominated by local Albanians, declared unilateral independence in 2008.

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