Police officers from the south warned not to publish photos from the north, what happened in the previous days?

Gazmend Hoxha, Director of Operations of the Kosovo Police, confirmed in an interview with Kallxo that the members of the Kosovo Police were ordered not to publish the photos they take while carrying out their duties in the north. For days, some pages on social networks shared photographs of KP members, including special forces, some of which included their personal details, national symbols, gestures, or messages. A few days ago, these pages stopped publishing the mentioned content, and some posts were even removed.

Hoxha said in the show Kallxo Pernime that the police officers were warned and received clear instructions that this should not happen again, as well as that they will be sanctioned if they continue taking photos. He added that there has been an improvement in this regard ever since.

„Perhaps it was an expression of emotion, but our police officers should not stoop to such a level,“ said Hoxha.

„Police officers have just received instructions not to use images or other symbols that can be seen as a provocation or threat to citizens living in these areas.“

Aleksandar Arsenijevic, the founder of the civic initiative „Srpski Opstanak“, who made a guest appearance on the same show, also addressed this issue.

Arsenijevic confirmed that the Serbs in the north do not feel safe after seeing the photos of the Kosovo Police in the north, saying that the Albanian policemen do not give them a sense of security.

„Citizens of Serbia, when they see all this on social networks, do not feel safe. Imagine a Serbian policeman in Pristina, in Gracanica, if he held up three fingers, he would be hanged,“ said Arsenijevic.

When asked why he did not bring and show photos of the masked Serbs who attacked the journalists, Arsenijevic said that he „cannot find them“.

„If I had found them, I would have taken brought them… if there were any… I do not justify violence. I am telling you how the citizens feel, I am telling you what is happening, that no one feels safe,“ he said.

Facebook campaign – „heroes“ protecting the north

In the previous days, several pages on social networks, as well as a couple of portals, published photos of Albanian members of the Kosovo Police in the north. In the photographs, they are shown posing with weapons. Along with the photos, these sites and pages also shared announcements and messages referring to the heroic deeds during their stay in the North.

There are several such Facebook pages. One of them, Ditori.com, has been running a kind of campaign for the promotion of young members of the Kosovo Police from the south who have been deployed to the north. They published individual pictures of these policemen, along with their personal details and motivational messages.

Also, photos of police officers with Albanian civilians in the north who warmly welcomed those who „ensure their safety in the North“ were also shared. Such posts received thousands of likes from Albanian sympathizers.

In addition to Ditori.com, such a „campaign“ was also carried out by the following sites: Jepi zeMitropolVeriu.info.

They stopped sharing such posts in the meantime. Except for the Mitorol page, which published the last such photograph a week ago, the remaining three pages shared their last posts four days ago.

Since then, however, certain pages have also deleted parts of their posts.

While this content was met with the approval of its target audience, judging by the numerous comments and likes, it cannot be said the same for the Serbian community in the North.

Dissatisfaction, fear, and unease of local Serbs over the presence of policemen outside their region is visible, further intensified by such campaigns run on social networks.

Kosovo Serb citizens concerned

Dusan Milunovic, the only Serbian councilor in the North Mitrovica municipal assembly, pointed out these problems last week.

In an interview for KoSSev, while addressing the fear among the Serbian community caused by the deployment of additional police forces to North Mitrovica, Milunovic emphasized that in otherwise peaceful multi-ethnic areas, it is the presence of the police that raises tensions.

„I live in Mikronaselje, it is a multi-ethnic environment. Believe me when I say that there is a normal coexistence. This brings additional unrest among both Serbs and Albanians. I consider it an illegal decision. It was brought as an excuse to keep people safe… I also see what they post on social networks, photographs of themselves with guns, as if it were heroism. And we live here normally, we don’t need that kind of protection. Of course, the police and the court should return to this town, but not in this way. One small bullet can cause an incident of unfathomable proportions,” he said.

Some civil society activists from the north point to what they describe as „inappropriate behavior of police officers“ who came to the North from other regions, including special police contingents.

Milica Andric Rakic from New Social Initiative assessed that it is a case of pure fetishism.

“In the majority of the photos, they are in full tactical gear with long barrel guns,“ Andric Rakic said, while also sharing a series of photos.

 

During the past few days, citizens also complained about the behavior of the police on the field, however, the police soon denied these allegations.

Police underline the professionalism and responsibility of police officers

Contrary to Hoxha’s statement that the police officers received new instructions on how they should behave, with the threat of sanctions, the Kosovo police have repeatedly said that the „speculations“ that their officers are unfriendly, that they behave badly and rudely towards the Serbian community are untrue. The KP stressed that the work of police officers is based on „professionalism, responsibility and integrity, within which they ensure safety and treat all citizens without distinction“.

Additional units of the Kosovo Police entered North Mitrovica 14 days ago with the explanation that they were protecting the multi-ethnic areas in the town, after the local Albanians complained that they did not feel safe.

Kosovo’s Minister of Internal Affairs, Xhelal Svecla, explained that „after consecutive armed attacks on police officers and citizens in the north of the country, it is necessary to increase the presence of the police in order to protect all citizens.“

Police officers are now stationed throughout North Mitrovica, some of whom are also wearing specialized equipment, although the police itself emphasized that regular units would be stationed in the north.

More than 500 members of the Kosovo Police of the North region quit their jobs at the beginning of November, after the commander of the North Kosovo Police, Nenad Djuric, was suspended. Djuric previously stated that the police in the North will not carry out the second phase of the decision on re-registration, i.e. impose fines on drivers who have not changed their Serbian license plates to RKS.



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