Violence Ensues As Special Police Forcibly Enter Municipal Buildings

In a show of force, Special Kosovo Police assisted Albanian mayors today in entering the buildings of Serbian Temporary Municipal Bodies in three northern municipalities – Zvečan, Zubin Potok, and Leposavić.

The majority Serb population does not approve of this move. The entry of mayors into municipal buildings was accompanied by incidents in which dozens of citizens were lightly injured, mostly from tear gas, along with five police officers. At least two police vehicles were destroyed, one of which was set on fire. Tear gas and stun grenades were used, and gunshots were heard in Zvečan, while citizens briefly set up barricades in Leposavić.

In North Mitrovica, it was calm throughout the day, except for about half an hour before noon when air raid sirens went off, and municipal workers gathered in front of their building in this municipality. Several Carabinieri vehicles were parked on the main bridge in Mitrovica, and in the afternoon, catering facilities, shops, and all sports and cultural activities were canceled.
Emergency sirens were heard before noon. Citizens were called to gather in front of municipal buildings to prevent the mayors from entering.

In the late afternoon, the Kosovo Police removed Serbian flags from the municipal buildings and replaced them with Kosovo ones.

Readers have given statements to our portal saying that Serbian municipal workers in Zubin Potok left the building with their belongings, and the police allegedly vandalized property locked inside.

The police confirmed that they are assisting mayors in this and trying to prevent „criminal activities.“

The Kosovo Minister of Interior Affairs congratulated the police on their „professionalism“ in protecting institutions, the rule of law, and democracy from, as he emphasized, „organized criminal groups“ and „gangs“.

The Kosovo President approved the actions of the Kosovo Police towards „Vučić’s illegal structures and criminal groups“ as „legitimate.“

The tone of the reaction from international officials, especially the United States and KFOR, were markedly different. Among the first to react were American officials, including the Secretary of State, who strongly condemned the Kosovo government’s actions, specifically the violent entry into the Temporary Bodies’ buildings, which they called a provocation. They also called on the Kosovo Prime Minister to halt violent measures and focus on dialogue.

KFOR called the action a „forced entry of newly elected Mayors into municipality buildings“ and described it as „extremely dangerous“ for the normalization process.

Meanwhile, other international officials have also expressed their condemnation but in a milder tone, urging an end to provocative actions.

The Kosovo Prime Minister, who met with the KFOR commander tonight, told him that mayors must perform their duties but also emphasized that municipal buildings are the „property of the Republic.“

On the other hand, the President of Serbia announced a session of the Security Council during the rally in Belgrade, specifically regarding the situation in Kosovo, stating that Pristina was waiting for „every man from Kosovo and Metohija to come to Belgrade to enter the municipalities.“

Yesterday, three Albanian mayors took the oath in Albanian villages in Zvečan, Zubin Potok, and Leposavić. A week ago, the fourth Albanian mayor took the oath in the municipal building. North Mitrovica is also the only northern municipality that has separate buildings for the Kosovo municipality and the Serbian Temporary Municipal Body. Additionally, a larger number of employees from the North, as well as in other predominantly Serbian areas, left for Belgrade to attend Vučić’s rally.

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