"Brothers and sisters, no turning back from here"/PHOTOS
Serbs protested on Tuesday in Kosovska Mitrovica against what they see as Pristina's disgraceful moves, and the arrests of Serbs in this northern Kosovo town.Source: B92, Beta, Tanjug
The protest was attended by a large number of citizens of the northern part of the town, who were first addressed by the now former mayor, Goran Rakic, who, about an hour earlier, resigned along with other three Serb mayors in northern Kosovo.
"We want to send a clear message to the media, to Pristina, to Brussels and the EU, that these are peaceful protests, and we would not want things taken out of context and someone calling these protests by any other way. This is a peaceful, democratic and civilized way to respond to Pristina, to their brutal, non-democratic and uncivilized decisions - or what should we call those, without offending them," Rakic told the crowd at the beginning of his address.
"The international community keeps silent to all these decisions (by Pristina). Today, the assemblies of the four municipalities of the north of Kosovo have been held when we resigned, and starting today, the administration of Pristina's local self-government no longer exists. It does not exist - not because of some whim of ours, but because of (Pristina's) moves that prevent the normal life of the Serb people in Kosovo. The taxes (increased recently by 100%) introduced by Pristina mean that our children tomorrow will not have the basic conditions for life, food, water," said Rakic.
According to him, the reason for the protest and the resignations was - in addition to the disgraceful taxation - also the brutal action of the (Kosovo police) Rosu unit, that stormed the north of Kosovo (last Friday), although it has been clearly stated in (UN Security Council) Resolution 1244 that the only armed formation could be KFOR. Pristina does not respect this decision either, Pristina has sent units armed to the teeth to arrest our fellow citizens, and tried to kill our fellow citizen, our brother Milan Radoicic. Brother, we stand with you," said Rakic.
"Brothers and sisters, after late Oliver Ivanovic's secretary was arrested yesterday (Nov. 26) as well, I want to convey to you that we are with you. We will continue to gather every day, until these shameful decisions have been withdrawn," Rakic said, and urged the citizens to continue their protests daily.
"We will stay here. I urge the citizens to come to a protest tomorrow at 12:00 hours, at the same place. We have formed a crisis headquarters that is in session around the clock, food and other supplies are running out. There is no turning back from here, brothers and sisters," Rakic concluded.
The rally was also addressed by the director of the Kosovska Mitrovica hospital, Milan Ivanovic, who said that the citizens gathered represented a symbol of resistance, freedom, survival, and of remaining in the state of Serbia - and that the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija enjoy the full support from the state of Serbia.
Ivanovic stressed that the main demand of the Serbs is not food and medicine: "We want freedom, peace, our country that will protect us," he said.
Ivanovic added that the protest must unfold exclusively in a peaceful manner, so as not to give the Albanians a cause for any action aimed at occupying northern Kosovo.
"Because, they are waiting to cause a new Racak, Markale, to accuse us, and then occupy the north of Kosovo and separate us from the state of Serbia. We cannot allow that," he said.
"The red line that must not be crossed is freedom and our lives. Both the president and Serbia guarantee that no one will go hungry or thirsty," Ivanovic concluded.