Pristina: Protesters urinate inside Serbian church

Kosovo's Deputy Prime Minister Branimir Stojanovic condemned on Sunday in the strongest terms the desecration of the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Pristina.

Source: Tanjug
The protest in Pristina on Saturday (Tanjug)
The protest in Pristina on Saturday (Tanjug)

The Serbian Orthodox church was desecrated by a group of protesters during Saturday's opposition riots in that city.

Stojanovic said the behavior was shameful and uncivilized, qualifying it as unacceptable that police watched the protesters entering the church, and did nothing.

He underlined the need for setting up a fence around this unfinished church as soon as possible.

This Serbian Orthodox church has been targeted many times before, with the perpetrators never found, Stojanovic noted.

He called on the Kosovo interior minister to take measures against the police officers who failed to act, and let the protesters urinate inside the church.

10 policemen injured, 24 protesters arrested

Kosovo Police Spokesman Baki Keljani said that 10 policemen, two protesters and two reporters had been injured in Saturday's opposition protest, and that 24 protesters had been arrested.

He told a news conference that Kosovo police had shown much restraint and had not responded until protesters started using Molotov cocktails, noting that police used only regular anti-riot means, Pristina media reported.

Keljani dismissed the opposition's claims that police had prevent activists from other parts from coming to the protest, and their estimates concerning the number of protesters, saying that around 8,000 people took part in the demonstrations.

Basri Lenjani, head of the emergency department, said that they had admitted 11 people with injuries - seven policemen, two protesters, one passer-by and one cameraman.

The ethnic Albanian opposition parties that organized the demonstration said they would continue with protests until the government resigns and until agreements on the formation of the Community of Serb Municipalities and demarcation with Montenegro are annulled.

UNMIK concerned

The United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) voiced concern on Saturday about the violence observed at the protests in Pristina's city center, during which Molotov cocktails, stones and other objects were thrown at the government building and police.

“Such acts by certain individuals have no place in a democratic society and have nothing to do with the legitimate right to peaceful protest expressed by many others,” UNMIK said in a release.

UNMIK urges a return to democratic means of expressing opinions, including through the Kosovo Assembly, reads the release.

The EU Office in Pristina also condemned the violence and the destruction of public property, calling for peace and restraint, the Albanian language news website koha.net reported.

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