March 4, 2024

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Kosovo Security Force KFOR broke Serbian resistance in the north

Kosovo Security Force KFOR broke Serbian resistance in the north

Kosovo

The security force KFOR violently broke up Serb protests in the north

KFOR, the NATO-led security force, violently crushed a protest by militant Serbs against new mayors in northern Kosovo.

Published

On Monday morning, around 300 KFOR soldiers in combat gear took positions in front of the municipal office in Zvecan.

Reuters

  • Violent clashes have erupted again between Serbian demonstrators and police in northern Kosovo.

  • The protesters tried to take control of the local government building.

  • Soldiers used tear gas and grenades.

Ethnic Serbs in northern Kosovo met on Monday Clashes with KFOR troops provided. They tried to take control of the local government building. Earlier, it was already a conflict with the Kosovar police came Serbs gathered in the morning in the municipalities of Zvecan, Leposavic and Zubin Potok, police said. In Zvecan they tried to force their way in with tear gas. The police retaliated by firing tear gas shells.

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Tear gas and stun grenades

In the afternoon, KFOR troops called on the Serbs to make way for two Kosovar special police vehicles. Troops then used tear gas and stun grenades to protect the officers in the vehicles and disperse the protesters. Then the Serbs threw stones and other objects. A vehicle caught fire. No information was initially available on possible injuries.

Municipal elections were held in four municipalities in April, most of which were boycotted by ethnic Serbs. Only representatives of Albanians or minorities were elected. Serbs are the majority in northern Kosovo.

Newly elected members should not enter the buildings

Members of this majority tried to block newly elected officials from entering City Hall buildings last week. Police fired tear gas shells to disperse the crowd. More than a dozen Serbs and five members of the Kosovar police were injured in Friday’s clashes. The United States and the European Union accused the Kosovar government of accessing the buildings with the help of police.

According to one of their politicians from northern Kosovo, the Serbs are demanding the resignation of the new mayors who are “illegal and illegitimate sheriffs”. In addition, local politician Goran Rakich said that the special police should leave the area. The requests were sent to the NATO-led Kosovo Force KFOR and foreign embassies.

KFOR calls for peace talks

Police and KFOR guard city government buildings in four municipalities on Monday. KFOR said its on-site presence has been increased to ensure a safe environment. The force has called on the parties involved in the conflict not to escalate. It said the governments of Kosovo and Serbia should engage in EU-led talks to work towards peace.

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Kosovo and Serbia have long been enemies. Kosovo declared its independence in 2008. The Serbian government did not recognize this. The Serbian army was put on alert on the border with Kosovo on Friday.

Criticism of the Serbian Prime Minister

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic criticized the international handling of events in Kosovo. KFOR does not protect the people, but those who have seized power – apparently a reference to the new mayors. “But we must preserve the peace,” he said.

Serbian Defense Minister Miloš Vucevic said the army would be “ready to carry out any task and any order”. He expects a political solution. He accused KFOR of “protecting the police from the disarmed”.

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(DPA/br)