KOSOVO—Several hundred Serbs gathered in front of the municipal buildings in northern Kosovo on Monday, peacefully protesting and demanding the withdrawal of the Kosovo police forces (ROSU) and Albanian mayors elected in local elections boycotted by the Serb population. The four municipalities in question, located in northern Kosovo, are predominantly Serbian, with over 95% Serbian population.
Since early Monday morning, the Italian unit of KFOR has stationed itself at the entrance of Bosnjacka masala, as reported by local sources. More than 100 soldiers, accompanied by several jeeps and trucks, are present in the area.
Confirming the situation, Kosovo Online reported the significant presence of Polish soldiers from KFOR near the municipality of Zvecan. They have formed an initial security ring around the municipal building, which was forcibly entered by the Albanian mayor after the elections in which the Serb population did not participate.
Alongside the KFOR members near the municipal building, Kosovo police officers are also present.
The situation in Zvecan, as reported by Kosovo Online, remains highly tense. Unexpectedly, Albanian journalists have withdrawn from the streets and moved farther away from the municipal building. Tensions escalated further when the KFOR commander urged individuals to retreat behind the Kosovo Police’s armored vehicles in order to establish a “safe zone.”
However, Serbs have rejected this proposal, fearing it would facilitate the entry of Iljir Peci into the building. The news of Peci’s announced arrival at the municipal building triggered significant outrage. The current state of affairs on the ground is characterized by high volatility, with a substantial number of special unit members wearing gas masks and carrying tear gas stationed at the entrance of the municipal building.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Western leaders have strongly condemned the unilateral actions of Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti, denouncing the use of force and his unilateral decisions.
The NATO Commander Jens Stoltenberg emphasized that Pristina must de-escalate and refrain from taking unilateral steps that could destabilize the situation.
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