„Overall, I think it’s a difficult situation. I don’t want to undermine everyone’s good will, but this is very scary. This is not a livable environment,“ said Viola von Cramon in front of the Zvecan municipal building.
Today marks the third day since special units of the Kosovo Police forcibly entered the Zvecan municipality building, escorting in the newly elected Albanian mayors of Zvecan, Leposavic, and Zubin Potok, following protests by local Serbs. The action in all three municipalities was followed by incidents in which a dozen ethnic Serbs and 5 policemen sustained minor injuries, and at least two police vehicles were demolished. The KP action was met with the disapproval of the local community, despite Pristina’s claims to the contrary.
The international community also reacted harshly. The US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken was one of the first to react and condemned the action. The German envoy for dialogue, Manuel Sarrazin, as did Cramon, urgently traveled to Kosovo. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called on the two sides to focus on dialogue and urged Pristina not to take unilateral actions that can lead to destabilization, and immediately de-escalate the situation.
Kosovo security forces, however, still remain in these buildings, where they replaced the flags, doors and surveillance cameras, while Kosovo authorities praise the action and announce that the mayor will come to his workplace on Monday.
Different types of police vehicles could be seen at the site – armored, regular, civilian jeeps, as well as units – from policemen in regular uniforms to special forces with helmets, bulletproof vests, and firearms, wearing both blue and gray uniforms.
Viola von Cramon, visibly concerned, visited Zvecan today.
„You are here 24/7?! Where is the threat?! What on earth brought you here?“ – the European rapporteur for Kosovo told the special units of the Kosovo Police situated in front of the Zvecan municipal building.
In the questions she asked the officers in front of the municipality and based on the answers she received, von Cramon stated that it was a „civilian, normal neighborhood“ and that the arrival of the mayor should be democratic and civil, noting that the opposite was achieved.
At the same time, she emphasized that she knows that it is not the fault of the police officers themselves, who are only carrying out orders, and that she „must ask these questions in Pristina.”
„I don’t blame you, don’t get me wrong. You’re not the ones deciding on where you will work, but something is really bad,“ this official said.
When the officers emphasized that they were only following orders and were there to protect everyone, she replied:
„I know, absolutely, I don’t blame you. It is not up to you to decide where you will work. I have to ask my questions in Pristina.“
During the tour of the municipality of Zvecan, civil activist Aleksandar Stojanovic and political activist Aleksandar Aresenijevic were on the spot, who previously, in a live broadcast, tried to present to the special units a request to return and display the Serbian flag next to the Kosovo flag.
With a printed copy of Article 59.7 of the Constitution of Kosovo and a wrapped flag of the Republic of Serbia, as well as photos showing flags of the Republic of Albania displayed in several Kosovo municipalities, Arsenijevic referred to the article that allows the ethnic community to highlight its identity markings.
Arsenijevic took von Cramon and the EU advisor on a tour of two schools, a high school, and an elementary, a kindergarten and a student dormitory, which are located near the municipal building, pointing out the special units, as well as the remains of stun grenades thrown during the Friday incident.
After visiting Zvecan, Von Cramon headed to Leposavic, where she also visited the Trepca building in this municipality, in front of which special units of the Kosovo Police are stationed.
According to our readers’ testimonies today, Kosovo special forces gained access to these premises as well.
Preuzimanje i objavljivanje tekstova sa portala KoSSev nije dozvoljeno bez navođenja izvora. Hvala na poštovanju etike novinarske profesije.