First day of traders’ protest against the taxes: Citizens are greeted by padlocks

FOTO: KoSSev

North Mitrovica stores, pharmacies, restaurants, cafes, gas pumps, and boutiques will be closed today and tomorrow. There are noticeably fewer people than usual in the town, while media crews can be seen in the field. Citizens still do not know what will happen after Tuesday.

Only the elderly citizens could be seen on the streets of North Mitrovica this morning – and the usual long lines of citizens waiting in front of the banks. The usually crowded pedestrian zone is also empty. There are also fewer cars in the town.

The Kosovo government imposed taxes on imports of goods from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina seven months ago, which de facto suspended the import of products from these countries. However, the measure was not implemented in the north of Kosovo where these goods were delivered to local stores by alternative routes.

This practice was suspended after the action of the Kosovo Police special units at the end of May when more than 20 police officers from the north of Kosovo were arrested on the suspicion of being involved in the smuggling and organization of criminal groups.

Goods from Serbia stopped arriving in the north of Kosovo more than two weeks ago, whose traders claim that they refuse to procure goods from Albanian distributors from the southern part of Kosovo due to the existing taxes on Serbian products.

An alleged appeal by the Association of Entrepreneurs from Kosovo appeared in the public recently, calling on traders not to trade with Albanian distributors. Some of the traders from North Mitrovica told KoSSev last week that they were told „to do so“ – without mentioning solidarity as the reason behind their decision to close their shops today.

On the other hand, some traders question the quality of products from the south, as well as the readiness of citizens to buy these products.

„We are all used to products from Serbia here, our products and we still think this is Serbia. We never procured products and groceries south of Ibar and we do not know anything about the quality of these products. On the other hand, entrepreneurs agreed not to take goods from the south because that pressure comes from this policy of Pristina. We cannot accept it. Should we take those goods while they forbid us from taking goods we are used to?“ one of the North Mitrovica traders told KoSSev last week.

Serbian traders have not yet presented their demands for the suspension of this type of protest.

Banks, car washes and institutions are working in North Mitrovica.

 

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