Incident in Klina municipality: A local Serb priest intercepted while returning with family from religious service

Аn incident occurred on Wednesday near the village of Zac, in the Klina municipality, when a group of local Albanians intercepted the vehicle of a local Serbian Orthodox priest Fr. Stevan Marković who was returning with his family from a service at the Pec Patriarchate Monastery – the Diocese of Raska-Prizren stated in a press release. This incident is the latest reported in a series of attacks on local Serbs and their property this week.

„They first blocked the road in front of the priest and then, when a larger group gathered began hitting the car and broke the windshield. The priest’s children, 5 year old twins and his wife suffered from shock after the incident, especially as one of attackers threatened to return with weapons. The attackers belong to the K. family clan which took part in attacks against local Serbs in this area before“ – the Diocese explained further on the incident.

„The current Decani mayor is the same as his predecessor, he continues to obstruct the Kosovo Constitutional Court decision on the property of the Visoki Decani Monastery, and while attempts continue to turn a local rural road passing near the Monastery into an international highway to Montenegro, the most recent security incidents show that the security situation for Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija is deteriorating with great intensity. The statements of the Decani mayor and the Minister of Infrastructure against the Serbian Orthodox Church are inflammatory and irresponsible, and worsen an already bad security situation in this Municipality“ – the Diocese said in the same press release reflecting on the issue of works which it claims are been conducted in the Protected Zone around the monastery.

They added that Fr. Markovic met the British Ambassador Ruairi O’Connell after the incident and told him what had happened. He also informed him about the recent incident at the church in Petric where he was again attacked with his parishioners.

„Violations of religious rights, especially of Orthodox Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija have been documented in the recently published annual State Department report on religious freedom. It is clearly mentioned that there are obstructions to access all religious sites, frequent violations of existing laws on the rights of the Serbian Orthodox Church and non-majority communities in the region“ – it is stated in their press release.

The Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raska-Prizren further condemned the latest series of incidents. They are the indicators of a serious deterioration of the security for the remaining Serbs and the Orthodox Church itself, stated the Diocese.

The Diocese also appealed to international representatives and Kosovo institutions to act in their full capacity to further prevent „ethnically motivated violence“ and to provide the Kosovo Serbs with a safe life. Appealing to local institutions, the Church called on them to respect the existing laws.

In the village of Staro Gracko an incident occurred yesterday evening when a fight broke out between two Serbian men and a local Albanian, who verbally assaulted a group of Serbian women and children prior to the incident in the same village. Previously, in the village of Petric, local Albanians blocked Serbian returnees from approaching the local church.

The Serbian media also reported on incidents in North Mitrovica – the stoning of the outpatient clinic in the ethnically mixed village of Suvi Do, as well as an attempted burglary of a local medical clinic in the village of Novake and the burning of the patients’ protocol book.

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