In the four municipalities of Northern Kosovo, thousands of Serbs are protesting against the new Albanian mayors in these municipalities. Protesters have attempted to break through the police and KFOR cordon, and the police have used spray.
Local media TV Syri has published a video showing their car with a bullet hole in it. Syri reported that no journalist from their team is injured.
Local media KoSSev has published a video on which it is seen the withdrawal of an armored vehicle of Kosovo police special forces and wounded KFOR members.
KFOR soldiers withdraw the injured troops from the locations in Zvecan.
19:40 – Italian news agency Ansa: 41 KFOR soldiers injured
The Italian news agency Ansa has announced that 41 KFOR soldiers, including 11 Italian soldiers, were injured in the heavy clashes between the NATO troops and Serbian demonstrators in Zvecan. Three of the 11 Italian soldiers injured, have serious injuries, but not life-threatening.
19:36 – Ambassador Szunyog: The EU in Kosovo strongly condemns the violent actions of protesters today in Zvecan
The Ambassador of the European Union in Kosovo, Tomas Szunyog, has stated that the European Union strongly condemns the violent actions of protesters today in Zveçan against KFOR troops.
“The EU in Kosovo strongly condemns the violent actions of protesters today in Zvecan, including the use of explosives, against KFOR, the peacekeeping troops. We repeat our call for the immediate cessation of violence and the reduction of tensions,” Szunyog wrote on Twitter.
KFOR sends additional troops in Leposavic.
19:26 – Police: Several KFOR officials were injured and five suspects were arrested.
Through a communiqué, the Kosovo Police has announced that several KFOR officials have been injured. Also, the announcement states that five people suspected of attacks have been arrested.
“As a result of the rampant violence so far, several KFOR officials have been hurt/injured, and so far five suspects have been arrested. Also, an official car of the Kosovo Police was set on fire as well as other cars were damaged,” it is stated in the announcement of the police.
The KP also said that the protesters in Zveçan provoked the situation, showed violence, threw various things at the police officers, they placed and wrote provocative inscriptions with Serbian and Russian symbols on police and KFOR vehicles, as well as damaged the tires and other parts of the vehicles.
18:22 – UK Ambasador: Attacks on KFOR troops and journalists are criminal and unacceptable.
Great Britain’s ambassador to Kosovo, Nicholas Abbott, has called the attacks on KFOR troops and journalists by protesters in the north of Kosovo unacceptable and criminal. He tweeted that steps should be taken immediately to reduce tensions. “Attacks against KFOR personnel and journalists are criminal and unacceptable. Just as QUINT has made it very clear – steps must be taken immediately to de-escalate and reduce tensions”, Abbott wrote.
During the day, protesters in the north of Kosovo threw bombs, stones and other objects towards KFOR troops. it.
While many official cars of the Special Units of Kosovo, KFOR and the media have been damaged with nationalist graffiti, broken windows, punctured tires and one car was burned.
17:46 – The Security and Defense Committee convenes, after the situation in the north
Due to the developments in the north, the Security and Defense Committee has convened since 17:00.
The Committee said that the Minister of Internal Affairs, Xhelal Svecla did not attend the meeting “because of the developments”. Svecla was invited to this meeting for reporting today.
The meeting of the Security Committee is closed for media. Inside are the MPs, Bekë Berisha from the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, Anton Quni from the Democratic League of Kosovo and Hisen Berisha from the Democratic Party of Kosovo.
16:55 – Serbian protesters disobey KFOR’s request to disperse
A tense situation is developing in the municipality of Zvecan. Members of KFOR, who have been near the municipal building since the morning, have warned the protesters to disperse peacefully.
The BIRN team, which is staying in Zvecan, is reporting that the protesters have not obeyed KFOR’s calls to disperse. The protesters threw stones and other objects in the direction of KFOR members. It is reported that some KFOR soldiers were helped by their colleagues, after suffering injuries from tear gas.
16:44 – QUINT ambassadors meet PM Kurti
BIRN learns that PM Albin Kurti and the ambassadors of the QUINT countries are having a meeting in the building of the Government.
15:31 – The car of medium TeVë 1 has been broken in Zubin Potok
TeVë 1 media has reported that the car of their journalists was damaged in Zvecan by unknown persons. The windows of the car were broken and the tires were flattened.
12:33 Vehicles of KALLXO.com and RTV Dukagjini media teams have been damaged around noon by unknown persons during the protest in Leposavic.
These persons have sprayed the 4S nationalistic symbol, with red ink in the media cars.
The Association of Journalists of Kosovo has condemned the caused damage.
Through a reaction on Facebook, AGK asked the law enforcement bodies to take extra care to ensure safe work for journalists reporting from the north.
“AGK, condemns this act of the protesters, at the same time calls on the Kosovo Police and the international presence in Kosovo, to enable safe and unhindered reporting of the media teams,” the reaction says.
10:49 – KFOR gives a declaration for the media
The NATO mission in Kosovo – KFOR has stated that it is closely monitoring the situation and has increased its presence in the four municipalities of the north of Kosovo. “This morning, the mission of NATO-led KFOR has increased its presence in the four municipalities of northern Kosovo, following recent developments in the area. The purpose of KFOR’s presence is to ensure a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement for all communities in Kosovo, in accordance with its mandate from United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 of 1999, read the statement.
KFOR has called on all parties to refrain from actions that could incite tensions or cause escalation. Furthermore, the NATO mission in Kosovo said it is in communication with representatives of all parties.
10:47 – The Serbian List presents two requests for the withdrawal of the protesters
The head of the Serbian List, Goran Rakic, said that he has forwarded two requests to KFOR representatives and foreign ambassadors in Prishtina, so that the Serbian protesters can withdraw from the buildings of the municipalities in the north, where they gathered.
“Our demands are that the ‘illegal sheriffs’ – as they call themselves – go to their homes and govern their families. And, all the special forces in the municipality building and around the municipality should withdraw to the south, because this is not a police station, it is the city hall”, said Rakic, speaking from Zvecan.
10:43 – Protesters in Leposavic sing nationalist songs
Serbian protesters in Leposavic sing songs of ultra-nationalist content. They are shouting in groups, ‘Kosovo is the heart of Serbia. Meanwhile, KFOR is providing security by barricading the area around the Municipality building.
In the early hours of Monday morning, hundreds of ethnic Serb in Kosovo protested in front of the northern municipalities.
In Zvecan and Zubin Potok, the police fired spray after the protesters tried to enter the municipality.
The police forces of Kosovo, KFOR, and EULEX are there and they also have increased their troops around the northern area since the protest of Friday where five Kosovo police officers were injured and their vehicles were damaged.
The leaders of the Serbian List are leading the protest in the . A KFOR mission cord has been established near them. Behind the members of this mission are also the cordons of the Kosovo Police.
“We did not come here for you, this building is not a police station, we came in peace, we did not come to attack anyone, we did not come here for you. Contact your boss and leave from here. I want you to guarantee that this false mayor will not enter the municipality,” head of Lista Srpska, Goran Rakic, addressed to Kosovo Police the protest in front of Municipality of Zvecan.
According to the police report, in front of the municipality building in Zvecan, protesters used violence and tear gas and attempted to break through the security cordons to forcefully enter the municipality building.
“The police used lawful means, such as spray, to stop the protesters and bring the situation under control,” writes in the statement.
Rakici further said that the elected new mayor may be the mayor of his own family, but not of the citizens of the north.
Several citizens, protesters, placed a Serbian flag on a Kosovo Police armored vehicle located near the municipality building in Zvecan.
The US Ambassador to Kosovo, Jeffrey M. Hovenier has invited in a meeting the four new mayors of the elected municipalities, but only the mayors from PDK attended the meeting: Izmir Zeqiri, the mayor of Zubin Potok, and Ilir Peci, the mayor of Zvecan. The two other mayors from the Vetëvendosje, Erden Atiq, of North Mitrovica, and Lulzim Hetemi, of Leposavic, are not participating in this meeting.
In a statement to BIRN, the mayor of North Mitrovica said that there would be a meeting soon.
Meanwhile in Leposavic, the Deputy of the Vetevendosje Salih Zyba was filmed entering the municipality of Leposavic together with the mayor of this municipality. The Deputy entered at a time when KFOR had set up a cordon with barriers near this municipality.
In the Zubin Potok, protesters passed through the KFOR barriers and reached near the municipality building where the Kosovo Police used spray to disperse them.
KFOR units have surrounded the municipality building in Leposavic with barbed wire.
Authorities of schools in the North have decided to suspend classes in all educational institutions due to the situation there. They cited concerns from parents and risks to children’s safety as reasons for the suspension, according to local media Kossev.
The protesters are opposing the Albanian mayors of Kosovo who were elected in the extraordinary elections in April for the four municipalities, North Mitrovica, Zubin Potok, Leposavic, and Zvecan.
Embassies of France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and the European Union in Kosovo released a statement on Sunday condemning Kosovo’s decision to force access into municipal buildings in the north of Kosovo.
“New unilateral actions will negatively impact relations with the Quint countries and the EU,” writes in the joint statement.
They expect the Government of Kosovo to undertake no new measures to force access to the municipal buildings.
The new mayors, all from Albanian parties, were elected in the April 23 elections in the northern municipalities predominantly inhabited by Serbs. The previous mayors resigned to express dissatisfaction with the Kosovo Government’s decision to re-register illegal Serbian cars under the Republic of Kosovo.
The majority of residents in the four Serbian-majority municipalities boycotted the election process.
Participation in the April elections was 3.47 per cent of the total number of registered voters.
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