Kosovo Police: No incidents during Vidovdan, tendentious writing of the Kurir

„The event in Gazimestan on the occasion of the Vidovdan holiday occurred without any individual incidents, while the reports of the Serbian media about it are tendentious and untrue,“ the Kosovo Police explained in yesterday’s detailed report following the June 28th celebration. According to their estimates, between 800 and 1000 participants registered at Gazimestan. Kosovo Police also refuted the claims made by the Belgrade-based tabloid Kurir in their news: „SCANDAL AT GAZIMESTAN: Albanian police forced a SERBIAN GRANDPA to TAKE OFF his T-shirt! THIS IS WHAT THEY WERE BOTHERED BY! AND THAT’S NOT ALL! (PHOTO, VIDEO).“

„The Kosovo Police prepared an operational security management plan for before, during and after traditional manifestations of the Vidovdan celebration,“ the police explained. This plan included the preparation, coordination, the necessary operational measures which included enhanced measures to ensure freedom of movement, security, to maintain public order and peace – they add.

The police controlled and regulated traffic and provided escorts for both individuals and groups.

Kosovo Police refuted the claims made by the Belgrade-based tabloid Kurir in the news: „SCANDAL AT GAZIMESTAN: Albanian police forced a SERBIAN GRANDPA to TAKE OFF his T-shirt! THIS IS WHAT THEY WERE BOTHERED BY! AND THAT’S NOT ALL! (PHOTO, VIDEO).“

They recalled that some of the images, that is, the video in this article are from an earlier period – not from this year’s Vidovdan celebration. They also explained that: „Following the reaction of some participants at the manifestation and identification of a person wearing a T-shirt with the photo of a person convicted of war crimes by the competent international court, we suggested that he should not draw attention to that shirt bearing in mind the possibility of additional reactions by other participants and in order to avoid any kind of misunderstanding.“

The police claims that the person in question accepted the proposal and voluntarily removed his shirt, continuing to participate in the manifestation without any problems.

Kosovo Police also underlined that the entire Vidovdan celebration passed without any incident, and thanked everyone, including the citizens.

The KoSSev team covered the gathering and memorial service at Gazimestan and witnessed the professional conduct of the police during those parts of the event that we covered, which can be seen on the several live broadcasts we published on Friday, before and after the memorial service.

Buses that came from outside of the territory of Kosovo entered Gazimestan with a police escort and with one police officer wearing visible police markings in the bus, next to the driver.

The number of pilgrims at Gazimestan was much higher this year than in 2018. They wore visible symbols of Serbia, the Serbian people and history, patriotic and national associations, including the organization “Obraz,” flags, t-shirts, banners, caps, as well as the markings of the Orthodox Church. Traditional Serbian songs about Kosovo, as well as spiritual music, could be heard the entire time while several groups of people sang loudly on several occasions.

What did the Kurir write?

Kurir picked up an article by Pristina-based portal Indeksonline and photographs that this portal published showing an older man firstly wearing a T-shirt with the image of Vojislav Seselj and then just a plain white shirt. The tabloid also published a video from Gazimestan, which the Zeri portal published on its site in 2012, showing the Kosovo police forcing a young man to take off his shirt.

This is what Kurir wrote: „Many Serbs gathered in Gazimestan today to celebrate Vidovdan. A significant number even came on a bus from Serbia to Kosovo just to join this celebration. Among the citizens today, as every year, there were those who wore t-shirts with different inscriptions, which were not pleasant for Albanians, the Albanian media wrote. An elderly man wearing a T-shirt with the image of the leader of the Serbian Radical Party Vojislav Seselj was at Gazimestan today. They reported him, and the ‘Kosovo Police’ reacted and forced the old man to take off his shirt. Not having an option, he sat on the grass, took off his T-shirt and put on a different shirt. And this grandpa was not the only one who had problems. Many Serbs were forced by members of the police to remove what they were wearing if it had any connection to Serbian markings.“

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