Pre-election marking of territory

Izbori Predizborna kampanja
FOTO: KoSSev

On the eve of the pre-election campaign for the Kosovo extraordinary parliamentary elections, the territories are being marked with national symbols, both Serbian and Albanian.

The campaign for the early Kosovo elections begins tomorrow, but it has gained momentum ever since Kosovo Prime Minister, Ramush Haradinaj resigned in July.

The latest toolkit in the showing off of patriotic feeling and national sentiments are flags. In the first place those are Serbian vs Albanian, while it seems that the Kosovo flags still remain „unattractive“ for the election candidates to increase the sentiment either pro or against their potential electorate.

On roads in the north of Kosovo, Serbian flags are being displayed. They have been hanging there for years, with new flags occasionally replacing the old.

Foto: RTV Gračanica

An Albanian flag was displayed this morning on an annex building – which is currently under construction – of the “Kralj Milutin” Elementary School, the Medical High School and the school for civil engineering and transportation in Gracanica, the principal of the “Pristina” school for civil engineering and transportation, Dejan Petkovic confirmed for KoSSev.

„It was displayed this morning when the construction workers came, so we reacted. The students grabbed poles made out of construction material. They wanted to confront about fifteen young Albanians working on the construction site. The flag was taken down, we calmed the students, returned them to classrooms and called the Kosovo Police,” Petkovic described this morning’s events.

Workers soon retreated to the vans they came to work in, and after police intervention, two workers were brought in for questioning.

„When the workers left, the Serbian flag was displayed.“

The main contractor also came to the school, promising that he would no longer cooperate with the contractor whose workers had displayed the flag.

„We insisted that they don’t come to work until Friday, so that the situation could calm down a bit,“ Petkovic said.

The head of the Gracanica Police Department, Bratislav Trajkovic also confirmed the news, stating that two people had been called in for an informative interview and that they are still waiting for the prosecutor’s report.

A billboard welcoming travelers into Zubin Potok municipality located immediately after the Brnjak IBM has been removed, the former Kosovo Prime Minister, Ramush Haradinaj confirmed on his Facebook page.

Zubin Potok tabla uklonjena
Foto: Ramuš Haradinaj, Fejsbuk

Kosovo media published the news and a photo of the billboard on Monday, while stressing the fact that the billboard inscription read – the Republic of Serbia and the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija.

„Dear citizens, a billboard in Zubin Potok, which was reported about in the media yesterday, was removed last night by law enforcement agencies of the Republic of Kosovo,“ Haradinaj wrote. However, the photos show that the billboard was not completely removed, only the inscription on it.

Also, a Serbian flag was removed a few days ago from the monument to the victims of World War II in Brezovica. Although the news was published by Serbian mainstream media and some Kosovo Serb media, the commander of the Strpce police station denied the news for KoSSev.

The flag, along with the mast, was laid on the ground, he added while denying that the flag was removed.

Media headlines on flag exposure finally included the initial story on flying the Kosovo flag over the Novo Brdo castle, while the dispute over claiming the ownership over this medieval site increased over the summer.

Kosovo central institutions thus displayed the Kosovo flag on a medieval fortress in mid August, which had so far being claimed to be a part of Serbian historical heritage.

Novo Brdo
FOTO: Gazeta Express
Novo Brdo in the midst of interfaith tensions

The dispute of the legacy of the Novo Brdo fortress and church first appeared in public in early June when the Kosovo media announced the construction at the „cathedral in Artana, formerly Novo Brdo,“ claiming that the same site is a Roman Catholic church. The Eparchy of Raska-Prizren also reacted at the time, underlining that it is one of 40 special protected zones – which are subject to a special procedure under the Kosovo laws. 

„This special procedure of determining if work can be carried out on a site depends not only on the decisions of Kosovo institutions but also the position of the Serbian Orthodox Church,“ the eparchy stressed.

The Roman Catholic Bishop of Kosovo Dode Gjergji and the retired Bishop of Bar Zef Gashi with their clergy and a group of believers served a mass in early August at the remains of the Orthodox Cathedral of St. Nicholas at the Novo Brdo fortress. As it was announced, the mass was held in commemoration of August 1 – the (Albanian) Diaspora Day and, for the very first time, at the “Catholic Church of St. Nicholas.”

The Eparchy of Raska-Prizren accused the diocese of Kosovo of violating correct interfaith relations and the Serbian Minister of Culture and Information, Vladan Vukosavljevic wrote to the Vatican on the occasion, provoking a sharp reaction from the former Kosovo Deputy Prime Minister, Enver Hoxhaj. In response, the Serbian Ministry of Culture told Hoxhaj to “face the truth and learn the facts.”

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