Sign in front of the municipal building in ZP damaged: KP blames the wind, citizens the police, while the mayor claims he will fix the sign

Opština Zubin Potok znak slova

The sign located above the entrance of the Zubin Potok municipal building was damaged recently. The inscription on the sign, „Municipality of Zubin Potok“ written in Cyrillic, is now missing most of its letters. While local residents accuse the Kosovo police of removing the letters, the police blamed the strong wind. Political activist, Milija Bisevac, demanded that the missing letters be replaced with Cyrillic ones, while the mayor, Izmir Zeqiri, promised that, if intervention is needed, everything „will be returned as it was“.

The latest crisis in the north of Kosovo broke out almost two and a half months ago, following the forced entry of members of the special units of the Kosovo Police into three municipal buildings in the north of Kosovo.

One of these municipalities is Zubin Potok, where police officers are still stationed, as is the case with Zvecan and Leposavic. On the other hand, citizens – employees of the Provisional Authorities who are not allowed to enter these premises – are protesting in front of the municipal buildings.

After entering the municipal buildings, the Kosovo Police installed surveillance cameras in Zubin Potok.

The cameras were placed in front of the municipal building, and as the deputy commander of the Kosovo Police for the region north, Veton Elshani, confirmed for KoSSev today, the cables that connect the cameras were placed against the wall of the building, behind the sign „Zubin Potok Municipality“.

Commenting on the missing letters, Elshani claims that the strong wind that hit the region over the weekend, including the municipality of Zubin Potok, is to blame.

„As the cables were behind the sign, against the wall, a strong wind knocked down the cables and the cables then knocked down the letters,“ argued Elshani.

Citizens say that the policemen took down the sign because it was written in Cyrillic

Political activist, Milija Bisevac, on the other hand, claims that the majority of citizens of the municipality of Zubin Potok believe that this sign above the entrance to the municipal building was taken down by members of the Kosovo Police because it was in Cyrillic.

Milija Biševac

„Citizens interpret it as another form of intimidation and spread of ethnic intolerance. We all know that our rights, including freedom of speech, have been threatened for years. This shows that they do not want the municipality to have a sign written in Cyrillic – Zubin Potok Municipality,“ claims Bisevac.

He added that he, as well as his fellow citizens, assume that a new sign with a different content will soon be placed above the entrance to the municipal premises.

A trilingual sign with Kosovo symbols was recently placed in front of the municipal building in North Mitrovica, with the first inscription in Albanian, followed by Serbian and English.

This sign was placed a few months after the newly elected mayor of North Mitrovica, Erden Atic, took office. Previously, for the first time, Kosovo flags were placed in front of the municipal building.

Bisevac called on the Police Inspectorate and international representatives to investigate the suspicions of citizens, i.e. whether members of the Kosovo Police were the ones who removed the letters.

Addressing the police allegations that the sign toppled due to a strong wind, Bisevac says that if this is really the case, the police officers should return the missing letters, that is, put up a new sign, also in Cyrillic.

„To return to its original state, because its demolition contributed to an additional rise in tensions and ethnic intolerance, which is not the path of de-escalation that both Belgrade and Pristina are talking about,“ he underlined.

The deputy commander of the Kosovo Police for the region north, Veton Elshani, meanwhile, told KoSSev that this issue falls under the jurisdiction of the Municipality of Zubin Potok.

Bisevac also criticized Srpska Lista in connection with the recent agreement reached in Bratislava, which, among other things, mandates the partial withdrawal of police officers in and around municipal buildings in the north of Kosovo.

„At the same time, in Bratislava, they agreed to withdraw the demonstrators in front of the municipal buildings, which additionally gives the representatives of the Kosovo Police and the government the right to do whatever they want with the municipal buildings from which the people who worked there were evicted,“ Bisevac stressed.

He added that if new elections in the north of Kosovo are called, the employees of the Provisional Authority who are protesting in front of the municipal premises will certainly not be allowed to return to their jobs.

„The question is what will happen to those Provisional Authorities that functioned regularly and employed a large number of people,“ this political activist from Zubin Potok added.

Zeqiri: If an intervention is carried out, the sign will be the same

We also contacted the mayor of this municipality, Izmir Zeqiri, who performs the function of mayor in a relocated office in the village of Cabra.

When asked whether he would work on replacing the damaged sign with a new one, Zeqir said that for now, he has no information about the sign being damaged, but that he will contact the Kosovo Police regarding the matter during the day.

„If some intervention is needed, it will be as it was,“ Zeqiri responded briefly to our inquiry as to whether the sign – if a new one is displayed -will be written in Cyrillic as well.

At the same time, we forwarded a photo of the municipal building showing the damaged sign to Zeqiri.

„Thank you, you will soon be informed about the whole event,“ Zeqiri said in response.

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