Kosovo, Serbia sends army to border after new protests

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic today ordered the Army into a state of maximum alert due to the strong inter-ethnic tensions that have returned to grow in northern Kosovo. In reporting the news, the media in Belgrade reported that Vucic at the same time ordered troops to move towards the border (which Serbia defines as an administrative line) with Kosovo. Defense Minister Milos Vucevic, confirming the president’s order, described the situation in Kosovo as dramatic.

The clashes

In the morning, incidents between Serb demonstrators and Kosovar police took place in Zvecan, one of the four largest municipalities in northern Kosovo with a Serb majority. After a crowd of people gathered in front of the municipality building, the police raided the municipality building. Tear gas and deafening bombs were fired, with the police blocking all access and exit routes from the city, even with the use of armored vehicles. There are reportedly wounded, at least four according to Tanjug. The troops of KFOR, the NATO force in Kosovo, are also on alert, whose helicopters fly over the areas affected by the accidents. A Kosovar police car was allegedly set on fire.

The Kosovar police, as well as in Zvecan, intervened today against the Serb demonstrators in Zubin Potok, who gathered in front of the Town Hall to protest against the new mayor of Albanian ethnicity.

The situation in Kosovo

The inter-ethnic tension in the north of Kosovo has started to grow again after the swearing-in of the new mayors of the four largest municipalities with a Serb majority (Zvecan, Zubin Potok, Leposavic and Northern Mitrovica). Mayors elected with the vote of last April 23, boycotted by the Serbs and which recorded a turnout of just 3.4%. This situation has led to the election of ethnic Albanian mayors called to govern 98% Serb citizens. Belgrade has defined these elections as illegitimate, accusing the Pristina government of wanting to ‘occupy’ the north.