NATO soldiers on guard in Kosovo town, Serb protesters smash two cars

LEPOSAVIC, Kosovo, May 30 (Reuters) – Serbian protesters smashed two cars belonging to journalists in Kosovo’s Leposavic city on Tuesday, a day after 30 NATO soldiers and 52 protesters had been damage in clashes, as EU and NATO officers urged a de-escalation of the violence.

Unrest in the area has intensified since ethnic Albanian mayors took workplace in northern Kosovo’s Serb-majority space after April elections that the Serbs boycotted, a transfer that led the U.S. and its allies to rebuke Pristina on Friday.

NATO stated in a press release it might ship further forces to Kosovo to curb the violence, including it “has directed the deployment of the Operational Reserve Forces (ORF) for the Western Balkans.”

Masked males smashed the windshield of a automotive with an Albanian licence plate marked as “A2, CNN affiliate,” a Reuters reporter who witnessed the incident stated. A separate automotive belonging to a different media outlet was smashed as properly. No one was injured.

EU overseas coverage chief Josep Borrell urged Kosovo and Serbian leaders to discover a method to de-escalate tensions by way of dialogue.

“We have too much violence already in Europe today, we cannot afford another conflict,” Borrell instructed a information briefing in Brussels.

Northern Kosovo’s majority Serbs have by no means accepted Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence from Serbia, and contemplate Belgrade their capital greater than two a long time after the Kosovo Albanian rebellion towards repressive Serbian rule.

Ethnic Albanians make up greater than 90% of the inhabitants in Kosovo as an entire, however northern Serbs have lengthy demanded the implementation of an EU-brokered 2013 deal for the creation of an affiliation of autonomous municipalities in their space.


Serbs refused to participate in native elections in April and ethnic Albanian candidates gained the mayoralties in 4 Serb-majority municipalities with a 3.5% turnout.

Russia, which has lengthy had shut ties with Serbia and shares its Slavic and Orthodox Christian traditions, known as on Tuesday for “decisive steps” to quell the unrest in Kosovo.

The Russian overseas ministry urged “the West to finally silence its false propaganda and stop blaming incidents in Kosovo on Serbs driven to despair, who are peaceful, unarmed, trying to defend their legitimate rights and freedoms.”

Moscow helped block Kosovo’s bid for U.N. membership at Belgrade’s request.

Several ethnic Serbs gathered in entrance of the municipal building in the city of Zvecan on Tuesday, the place the scenario was calm, with soldiers from the United States, Italy and Poland standing by in anti-riot gear.

The Serbian protestors will disperse at 4 p.m. (1400 GMT), and return on Wednesday morning, the Serbian Tanjug information company reported, citing Serbian officers in Zvecan.

Kosovo authorities have blamed Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic for destabilising Kosovo. Vucic blames Kosovo authorities for inflicting issues by putting in new mayors.

“In a democracy there is no place for fascist violence—no appeal from ballot to bullet,” Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti stated on Twitter late on Monday.


After assembly ambassadors of the Quint group – comprising the United States, Italy, France, Germany and Britain – in Belgrade, Vucic stated he had asked that Albanian mayors are faraway from their places of work in the north.

Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani stated felony gangs, supported by Vucic, aimed to destabilize Kosovo and the whole area.

On Monday, Serb protesters in Zvecan threw tear gasoline and stun grenades at NATO soldiers, leaving 30 NATO troops damage, together with 52 Serbs.

“Violent acts against citizens, against media, against law enforcement and KFOR (NATO’s Kosovo) troops are absolutely unacceptable,” EU’s Borrell stated.

For a TIMELINE on Serbian unrest in north Kosovo, click on right here.

Reporting Fatos Bytyci; Additional reporting by Alvise Armellini and Benoit Van Overstraeten; Writing by by Ivana Sekularac; Editing by Bernadette Baum

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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