Dozens of Serbs have gathered in the courtyards of three municipality buildings in the north of Kosovo, Zubin Potok, Leposaviq, and Zveçan, to block the new sworn in mayors from taking offices. Alarm has been issued and barricades have been set up, preventing the new mayors from entering municipal facilities.
On Friday, the alarm siren gathered dozens of Serbian citizens at the entrances of the three municipalities with a Serbian majority in the north of Kosovo, preventing access to the Albanian mayors, who sworn in a day before.
5 police officers were injured by protesters in Zvecan after the clash to block the entrance to the municipality building.
Kosovo police announced that four official vehicles were damaged, one of which was set on fire.
As a result of the created situation, the police have also sent armored cars to the municipality of Zvecan, while the President of Serbia, Aleksander Vucic, has ordered the army to be on high alert, regarding the situation in northern municipalities in Kosovo.
An attack on the KOHA media team was also reported.
Heavy machinery was also seen near the municipality building of Leposavic. These machines/trucks are similar to those used in December 2022 to barricade roads in Serb-majority municipalities.
A video from the local news media KoSSev shows many people gathered outside the municipality of Zvecan, and then tear gas and shooting is heard.
According to BIRN sources, police teams from different units have been urgently invited to be on alert. KFOR teams are also present.
BIRN learns that two trucks have already been stationed near the municipality building of Leposavic by Serb citizens, where on early Friday, the new mayor of this municipality, Lulzim Hetemi, confirmed that was forbidden from entering the building.
The new mayor of the Municipality of Zubin Potok, Izmir Zeqir, has also been banned from entering the municipality’s facility.
Such a gathering has not yet been seen in the municipality of North Mitrovica, although the alarm siren was heard.
In a statement to BIRN, the mayor of the North Mitrovica Municipality, Erden Atiq, said that he did not have many details of what was happening.
“I heard the alarm earlier; now it has stopped. I’m here in the municipal building. I don’t know more details,” declared Erden Atiq, the new mayor of this municipality.
Meanwhile, the Kosovo police, through a notification, made it known that they are carrying out their work to preserve order and public safety.
“According to our official duty, today the Kosovo Police is assisting the mayors of the northern municipalities of Zveçan, Leposavic, and Zubin Potok to exercise their right to work in the official facilities of the respective municipalities,” the police announcement states.
On Thursday, the mayors of the municipalities Leposavic, Zubin Potok, and Zveçan were sworn in while the ceremonies were held in facilities, mainly schools and local offices.
This is because they were asked weeks ago by QUINT countries not to forcibly enter municipal facilities.
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 percent of the total number of registered voters.
26 May 2023 - 14:06
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