Arsenijević: Kosovo Police beat me, harassed me and insulted me with ethnic slurs

President of the ‘Srpski Opstanak’ (Serbian Survival) Party, Aleksandar Arsenijević, claims that he was beaten today by members of the special units during an incident that occurred between the Kosovo police and local residents that had gathered in front of the municipality. In a statement to our portal, he stated that the attack was captured on the cameras located on the municipal building. He appealed to the international community to „investigate this incident and not let the camera footage go missing.“

Arsenijević stated that he went to the Zvečan municipality today after being invited by local residents.

„Citizens had called me, concerned about the large presence of police units, they were standing in front of the municipality. Among them was my pregnant neighbor Miljana, I stood next to her, I stood in front of the citizens and tried to establish contact with the police to prevent an incident. I informed the international community twice about the possibility of escalation,“ he told KoSSev.

According to Arsenijević, prior to the incident, the special forces initially withdrew and demanded that a police officer inside the municipality be allowed to exit.

„I went out in front of the citizens and escorted the police officer outside at the request of the unit commander. They promised twice that they wouldn’t do anything. The third time, they said they had to break through the crowd and enter.“

„I told them, ‘please, there’s a pregnant woman here, don’t do this.’ They proceeded as ordered. I warned the commander that he gave his word that nothing would happen and warned the police officers that these were also their citizens and that an incident should not occur,“ Arsenijević said.

Despite his pleas, according to Arsenijević’s testimony, members of the special unit started spraying tear gas at him from a distance of 20 cm from his eyes.

„I was disoriented; two policemen dragged me towards their jeeps, placed me between two cars, and beat me. I recognized one of the officers, having seen him later on in media footage. He was sitting down, with disheveled hair, no helmet, wearing body armor and a short-sleeved shirt. He cursed at me, called me a ‘Škija,’ and as you can see, I have injuries from blows to my face. They also hit me in the ribs and stomach,“ he stated.

He claims that at one point, one of the policemen noticed the cameras and shouted in Albanian, „mo kamera, mo kamera“ (don’t film).

He said that in the chaos, with a coat over his head, he distanced himself, but he also emphasized that he „didn’t run away from arrest.“

„I didn’t run away from arrest; I was disoriented, seeking refuge and fresh air, away from the tear gas. At some point, one of the citizens, I don’t even know how, took me to the hospital, where they used five liters of saline solution to rinse my wounds,“ Arsenijević explained.

The politician has called on the international community to investigate the incident and to ensure that the „camera footage from the municipality is not lost.“

„It is not just for those responsible for beating me, mistreating me, and using ethnic slurs, calling me a ‘Škija,’ to be held accountable, as this is unprecedented.“

Incidents occurred today in three municipalities in Northern Kosovo when the Kosovo authorities, with police assistance, attempted to install new Albanian mayors in buildings previously used by Serbian municipal structures.
Residents in the North resisted this decision and gathered in front of the municipal buildings in Zvečan, Leposavić, and Zubin Potok.

Since the mayors were unable to enter with the assistance of regular police forces, heavily armed units of the Kosovo Police’s special forces entered all three municipalities and forcefully installed the mayors. They removed Serbian flags and replaced them with Kosovo flags. Several civilian armored vehicles belonging to the Kosovo authorities were also seen.

Tear gas and stun grenades were used, and at least two police vehicles were vandalized, one of which was set on fire in Zvečan, with dozens slightly injured (among who 5 police officers) due to the tear gas.

The police accuse residents of throwing stun grenades, engaging in violence, and undermining the constitutional order.

The Kosovo Minister of Internal Affairs praised the police officers for their professional actions and their fight against organized crime.

The Kosovo President approved the action „“gainst the illegal structures of Vucic’s criminal gangs“ as legitimate, executed in accordance with their constitutional duties and in defense of all citizens.

Meanwhile, a significant portion of the Serbian leadership and employees of the structures were in Belgrade attending Vučić’s rally.

In contrast, international reactions are in the opposite tone, especially from the USA and KFOR

In a harsh tone, the moves of the Kosovo authorities in the North were criticized through several statements, including the announcement of the Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

„The United States strongly condemns the actions by the Government of Kosovo to access municipal buildings in the north of Kosovo by force, actions it took against the advice of the United States and Kosovo’s European partners. These actions have sharply and unnecessarily escalated tensions, undermining our efforts to help normalize relations between Kosovo and Serbia and will have consequences for our bilateral relations with Kosovo. We call on Prime Minister Albin Kurti to reverse course and on all sides to refrain from any further actions that will inflame tensions and promote conflict“.

KFOR is also closely monitoring the situation in the Municipalities in the North of Kosovo where a series of clashes have been caused by the forced entry of newly elected Mayors into municipality buildings, reads the statement.

„This is extremely dangerous for the normalisation process and risks escalating tensions further. KFOR firmly condemns these unilateral acts and calls on all parties to refrain from violence that could threaten security in Kosovo. Coordination between all actors is fundamental to avoid further escalation. KFOR’s first priority remains ensuring a safe and secure environment, in line with its UN Security Council mandate. Dialogue and diplomacy are the only way to lasting peace and security in Kosovo“.

Earlier today Kosovo’s Prime Minister met with KFOR Commander Angela Michelle Ristuccia in the face of condemnation from the international community, primarily the United States.

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