Kosovo Tensions: Serbian Minority Protests and Clashes on the Rise

2023-06-16 21:29:35

Amidst the tense situation in Kosovo, hundreds of members of the Serbian minority demonstrated once more yesterday once morest the arrest of a suspected Serbian militia chief. According to the police, stun grenades were also thrown at police stations in Mitrovica and Zvecan. The night before, two police cars had been attacked with stones in the region.

The protests sparked the arrest of suspected Serbian militia chief Milun Milenkovic on Tuesday. Immediately followingwards there were violent clashes between Serbian demonstrators and the Kosovar police in Mitrovica. The crisis city in the north of the country is divided into Serbian quarters north of the Ibar River and an Albanian quarter in the south.

Tensions in northern Kosovo

Tensions have been simmering in Kosovo’s troubled north for weeks following Prishtina decided to install ethnic Albanian mayors in four Serb-majority municipalities. Serbian residents in the north of the country had previously boycotted the local elections there.

After the appointment of the mayor, there were serious riots in the town of Zvacan in northern Kosovo at the end of May, in which 30 soldiers from the international security force KFOR were injured. Since then there have been isolated protests and clashes.

Kosovo, a country of 1.8 million people with a majority ethnic Albanian population, declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, but Belgrade still regards it as a Serbian province to this day. Around 120,000 Serbs live in Kosovo, mostly in the north.

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