19.4 C
Saturday, September 30, 2023
HomeWorldClashes in northern Kosovo between the police and Serb residents

Clashes in northern Kosovo between the police and Serb residents


On Friday, police used tear gas to disperse a group of Kosovo Serbs who gathered in front of municipal buildings in northern Kosovo, after the police helped appoint mayors of Albanian origin following controversial elections.

A journalist at Agence France-Presse witnessed that a number of Serb residents, who gathered at the sound of a warning siren usually sounded in response to the presence of the Kosovo police, clashed with the elements in the Serb-majority town of Zvecan. They were eventually removed.

In various videos posted online, gunshots and stun grenades can also be heard.

Ambulances arrived at the scene, where about 10 people were lightly injured by “sound bombs and tear gas, and they also had visible injuries to the face,” the assistant head of the local hospital, Danica Radomirovic, told local media.

Five policemen were slightly injured by “heavy tools and shock bombs” thrown in their direction, according to the Kosovo police.

She added that “material damage was caused to four official vehicles. One of them was set on fire… I also heard sounds of gunfire in the vicinity.”

The Kosovo Police confirmed earlier that its members were escorting the elected mayors to enter the building.

Public broadcaster RTS reported that the Kosovo police also used tear gas in the municipalities of Zubin Potok Leposavic.

And neighboring Serbia put its army on high alert and ordered it to move towards the Kosovo border, the Serbian Defense Minister told local media.

The Serbian army is on high alert against the background of tensions with Kosovo that have been repeated in the past years, the last of which was in December after the Serbs set up roadblocks to protest the arrest of a former policeman.

There is frequent unrest in Kosovo’s northern enclaves, where many Serbs have remained loyal to Belgrade and never recognized Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence from its neighbor in 2008.

About 120,000 Serbs live in Kosovo, many of them in the four northern regions.

Kosovo’s ethnic Serb minority boycotted local elections in the north in April, allowing Albanians to take control of local councils despite a voter turnout of less than 3.5 percent.

Belgrade has supported a boycott of the elections and is pushing for the establishment of a “Serbian League of Municipalities,” a form of autonomy for the Serb minority, where the majority of the population of 1.8 million is Albanian.

The main Serb party from Kosovo declared that there would be a “decisive response” from the Serbs if the “repression” practiced by Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurtin did not stop.

In March, Kosovo and Serbia failed to sign a historic agreement to normalize relations, despite months of shuttle diplomacy by EU mediators.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

Latest stories