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The Kosovo Force also spoke about the riots in Kosovo

The Kosovo Force also spoke about the riots in Kosovo

The Serbian protests began on Friday when the newly elected mayors of Zvecan, Leposavic and Zubin Potok tried to fill office. The local Serbs did not want to let the new mayors into the municipal buildings, because they did not agree that the majority of settlements inhabited by Serbs were led by Albanians, people who were not elected by them.

Early mayoral elections were held in four municipalities in northern Kosovo on April 23, because the municipal leaders resigned in November due to the dispute between Serbia and Kosovo. The majority of Serbs boycotted the early elections, so the turnout was 3.47 percent. Based on the votes cast, Albanian mayors will lead the settlements in the future. Neither the local Serbs nor Belgrade consider it acceptable for Pristina and the international community to call the elections, which took place with such a low turnout and a boycott by the Serbs, legitimate.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, but Belgrade has refused to recognize it since then and still considers the Albanian-majority province a southern province.

The situation was also tense over the weekend, but since it was a public holiday, no clashes occurred, as no one wanted to use the municipal buildings.

But on Monday, new mayors who were trying to take office were stopped by Serbs. Special units of the Kosovo police marched to the scene and tried to disperse the demonstrators with tear gas. KFOR intervened to prevent an escalation of the situation.

While the Serbs say the Kosovo side provoked the attacks, the Kosovo president said that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic wants to destabilize Kosovo. “Serbian illegal structures, which have become criminal gangs, have attacked the Kosovo Police, the Kosovo Force and journalists. Those who carry out Vucic’s orders to destabilize northern Kosovo must face justice,” Fyuza Osmani wrote on social media. President of the Republic of Kosovo.

In Zvekan, the Kosovo police used tear gas against Serbs, and Serbs attacked NATO peacekeepers with tear gas and stun grenades.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the Army, put the Serbian Army on the highest level of readiness on Friday, and confirmed it again on Monday afternoon.

The President of the Republic of Serbia, in his special televised press conference on Friday evening, held the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, responsible for what happened in Kosovo. As he said: For months he has been trying to draw attention to the fact that Albin Corti has only one desire, to stir up bloodshed in the entire region, but few people wanted to hear about it. “All this was organized by Albin Kurti with the desire for a major clash between the Serbs and NATO, and that he, who is solely responsible for all this, can wash his hands and say that he has nothing to do with this, ”explained Aleksandar Vucic.

The Serbian head of state asked the international community and the leaders of the Big Five – Germany, Italy, France, the United Kingdom and the United States – to try to “bring Albin Kurti to his senses” because Serbia only wants peace. “But they don’t just want to bring him to his senses with meaningless declarations, when they give him everything, but they take action, because if they don’t, I’m afraid it’s too late for all of us.”

And he asked the local Serbs, no matter how hard it may be, they should not enter into any conflict with NATO, not because anyone is afraid, but because this is exactly what the Kosovo Prime Minister wants to achieve. He assured them at the same time that Belgrade would take care of them, and would do everything possible to keep the peace, but would not allow them to persecute, turn away, and kill its people.

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Cover photo: Erkin Keci/Getty Images

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