Protest walk in N. Mitrovica: „Albanian nationalism is rampant“

A protest walk took place in North Mitrovica tonight on the occasion of the arrest of Risto Jovanovic from Podgorica at Gazimestan during the holiday of Vidovdan, and the recent attack on the ethnic Serbian boy N.P. from the village of Gojbulja.

Several dozen citizens, mostly young people, including a relative of the attacked boy, took part in the protest walk, which was secured by the Kosovo Police.

In the meantime, the mayor of South Mitrovica, Agim Bahtiri, called on the citizens of the southern part of Mitrovica not to fall for the provocations of „parallel Serb structures that operate in the north“.

„I call on the citizens of Mitrovica not to fall for the provocations of malicious Serbian parallel structures that operate in the north, where some of them announced a protest today,“ Bahtiri said.

This news was picked up by the Kosovo media, which cited the announcement that security had deteriorated as the reason for tonight’s protest walk. The Kosovan media also alleged that the protest organizers were reportedly connected to today’s incident in Suvi Do, where an explosive device was planted underneath a vehicle.

As previously announced, the gathered citizens, carrying the Serbian flag, walked from the monument to Prince Lazar in the center of the town to the main Ibar bridge.

Unlike the gathering on the same occasion that took place during the weekend in Gracanica, no banners were seen in North Mitrovica tonight.

The initiator of the protest walk, Aleksandar Arsenijevic from North Mitrovica, stressed that today’s gathering is „not related to an isolated incident“, noting that it was organized as a protest „against all incidents against the Kosovo Serb community that have occurred since the beginning of the year“.

He also stated that a total of 70 such incidents occurred since the beginning of the year. The Kosovo Office also recorded the same number of incidents against the Kosovo Serb community in its report.

Commenting on the latest two incidents – the attack on N.P. and the arrest of Risto Jovanovic, Arsenijevic told KoSSev:

„They also instill fear, not only in me but all my friends, people who live here with their families, that if we happen to visit a monastery tomorrow, it will be interpreted as ‘feeding Serbian nationalism’ – according to the statements of the ministers from the Kosovo government.”

“As you can see, this behind me is not nationalism, but young people who encourage me, not only me, but all of us to stay here and follow our future. And our future is not under other people’s boots and feet, batons, and other things. Our future is to live in peace and harmony.“

He called on international organizations to „give their political pamphlets and messages on human rights a rest“ – and instead “face the real situation on the ground.”

„They will recognize that Albanian nationalism is now rampant – it is burning brighter and stronger,“ he pointed out.

Arsenijevic said that today’s gathering aims to influence international representatives, „powerful people in Kosovo“, so that such things do not happen again, and that people are no longer prevented from entering Kosovo and visiting their relatives and holy sites.

„And holy sites are something that lasts longer than their state and everything, it is something that lasts for centuries,“ he concluded.

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