Serbs in Kosovo block roads and stage protests
Serbs on Tuesday blocked several roads in northern Kosovo to once again send a message that they "do not wish to be integrated into Kosovo's institutions".Source: Tanjug
North of the Ibar River Serbs form a majority population that rejects the authority of the government in Priština and the unilateral declaration of independence made by ethnic Albanians in early 2008.
This morning, all major roads in the municipalities of Zvečan, Kosovska Mitrovica, Zubin Potok and Leposavić were blocked, and would remain closed for one hour, it was announced.
Also at around 09:00 CET, local Serbs gathered near the main bridge in the divided town of Kosovska Mitrovica, blocking several roads there as well.
Meanwhile, south of the Ibar in Gračanica - one of the enclaves inhabited by Serbs in this part of the province - a protest has been announced for the afternoon against what organizers said was the poor state of human rights afforded to their community.
Those gathered will also protest against the force and brutality used by Kosovo police during the recent Serbian holiday of Vidovdan (St. Vitus Day).
Kosovska Mitrovica District chief Radenko Nedeljković told reporters that with protests today, Serbs in the north wished to once again decisively send a message to the international community and Priština that they "would not accept Kosovo's institutions".
The citizens were gathering in the north of the province, continued Nedeljković, to show that they already have institutions - those of Serbia - which they believed were "the only guarantee of their survival".
"We do not want Kosovo's institutions, those same institutions that several days ago on St. Vitus Day perpetrated brutal violence. I do not know if anyone in the international community realizes that Priština is carrying out institutional persecution and torture against Serbs and other non-Albanians," the district chief stated.
Nedeljković also said that Serbs expected the international community to carry out "a comprehensive investigation" into the Vidovdan violence - "and punish the perpetrators accordingly".
Further gatherings and blockades of roads will depend on the activities of the international community and Priština, he noted.
"The people who showed up here while the temperature reaches over 30 degrees centigrade are determined, united, and armed with patience and wisdom. We will persevere," Nedeljković concluded.