Protest in Pristina against Kurti’s statement about Ivanovic

FOTO: Kallxo

Former KLA members organized a protest in Pristina at noon yesterday against the statement of the Prime Minister of Kosovo on the fifth anniversary of the murder of Oliver Ivanovic, in which he praised the Kosovo Serb leader from the north as someone who worked for multi-ethnic Kosovo.

The fifth anniversary of Oliver Ivanovic’s murder was marked on January 16th by commemorations in North Mitrovica, Belgrade, and other towns, statements by family members, politicians from the north of Kosovo and Belgrade, but one from Pristina as well – from the prime minister, Albin Kurti.

Once referring to Ivanovic as a war criminal, Kurti now said in a video message in Serbian that the slain politician from the north was someone who worked for multi-ethnic Kosovo, who was dedicated to the interests of his community, and treated those with whom he disagreed with respect.

Albin Kurti’s statement was met with an avalanche of negative reactions in Pristina. „Shocking“, „shameful“ – the opposition claimed. The chairman of the Kosovo Parliament, Glauk Konjufca, said that “Oliver Ivanovic was a war criminal, there’s no question about it.“

Dardan Moliqaj, PSD leader, also called Ivanovic a war criminal during a performance in front of the Kosovo government building on January 18th. In criticism of Kurti, the PSD placed a cardboard bust of Oliver Ivanovic with the recent statement of the Kosovo Prime Minister to „console“ Kurti, but also to „reveal his tendencies to refashion the image of Oliver Ivanovic.“

A day after the fifth anniversary of the murder of the Serb politician, historians, analysts, and sociologists made numerous guest appearances on TV shows and portals, accusing Kurti of „paying tribute to a criminal“. Some alleged that „the glorification of Ivanovic is a moral, national and historical crime“, and others said that it was a tactical move of the Prime Minister of Kosovo toward the Serb community.

Those who presented themselves as the families of „victims of Ivanovic“ also made guest appearances, while media shared news pieces with headlines such as: „He can’t stop his tears while talking about how Ivanovic took away members of his family to kill them“; „The victim who testified against Ivanovic turns against Kurti“; „I curse my hand for voting for Kurti“.

Oliver Ivanovic and the Kosovo Prime Minister’s statement were also discussed in the Kosovo Parliament just three days after the anniversary, where the names of Ivanovic’s alleged victims were also read.

Blerta Deliu Kodra from PDK elaborated on everything she attributed to the murdered Serbian leader as a war crime from 1999, stressing that Kurti’s words offended everyone in Kosovo, from the families of the victims, through other crimes, and Kosovo institutions. She said that Kurti made a „huge mistake“ by saying what he said. Other MPs from PDK and LDK presented similar accusations.

The opposition accuses Kurti of „glorifying and rehabilitating a war criminal“ while depicting Ivanovic as a confirmed war criminal. Addressing Kurti’s video message in Serbian in which he said that Oliver Ivanovic fought for his town, they underlined that he did so through the „massacre of Albanians“.

The former members of the „KLA“ joined the criticism of Kurti with a protest held in Pristina yesterday, in front of the Kosovo government building with the motto „Prime Minister, don’t tread on our blood! Cease deviating from history“. It was attended by some Kosovo Assembly MPs, including Blerta Deliu Kodra.

The protest was also supported by Faton Klinaku, from the Association of Veterans of the KLA.

As Pristina media report, the protesters displayed banners on the Kosovo government building with the following inscriptions: „The Prime Minister never gave anything to Kosovo. Give up“, „Prime Minister, don’t glorify criminals“ and the like.

One of the organizers, Berat Beqiri, the son of one of the KLA members, addressed the protesters, alleging that Albin Kurti was „pardoning“ Oliver Ivanovic.

„Kurti’s speech was an ugly case of the prime minister trampling on the history of his people. No more ugly games and compromises, which, translated into Albanian, present treason and nothing but treason. There is no betrayal of our country and freedom. We want to tell every politician, regardless of party, that if you are not able to protect this country, quit your job, don’t torment us anymore,“ he said, Pristina media report.

Beqiri called on the Prime Minister of Kosovo to either resign or apologize:

„If he continues to pardon Ivanovic, we will be the most powerful voice that Kosovo has seen. Albin, resign or ask for forgiveness.“

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