MUP bans Guard gathering, arrests leader

KURŠUMLIJA -- Serbian police (MUP) have today issued orders banning a gathering announced by the self-styled Guard of Tsar Lazar.

Milić (right) faced riot policemen, before being arrested by their colleagues in protest-breaking gear (FoNet)
Milić (right) faced riot policemen, before being arrested by their colleagues in protest-breaking gear (FoNet)

Several dozen riot police officers in full crowd dispersal gear blocked access roads to a Kuršumlija medieval monastery and church, dedicated to St. Nikola, where some 20 Guard members planned to hold a gathering.

Officers also detained Hadži Andrej Milić and two other Guard members, and prevented reporters from reaching the church.

Milić, who introduces himself as the commander of the group, said earlier that his followers intended to take part in a Slava ceremony in the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) temple.

"Since the situation is peaceful we have postponed our march toward Merdare [checkpoint], as well as forming our war headquarters."

"It is inappropriate to compare [Albanian National Army] ANA and us, since ANA are armed, and we are not. We only want our army and police to defend Kosovo," Milić said.

The statement is in contradiction to last week's threats that Serbian security personnel, including MUP and VS officers, will come under fire from the guard, unless they join the group in their announced attacks against Kosovo Albanians.

Apart from the rhetoric inciting violence, the numbers and nature of the obscure group are unclear, but authorities say it has no potential to destabilize Serbia.