Albanian flag on Bujanovac municipal administration building

Source: Ilustracija / GENT SHKULLAKU / AFP

Albanian flags have been flying since Monday morning on the Bujanovac municipal administration building, which is also the seat of the Albanian National Council (NSA), reported Bujanovacke.rs.

Flags are displayed on the occasion of Flag Day, an Albanian national holiday.

Bujanovac is a town and municipality in southern Serbia.

Bujanovac Mayor Nagip Arifi personally put up an Albanian flag on the balcony above the entrance to the municipal administration building.

Just like last year, the displaying of the flag was welcomed by an applause by the councilors of the ruling ethnic Albanian majority in the Municipal Council and officials of the municipal administration.

Next to the Albanian flag are the Serbian flag and that of the European Union (EU).

There is no Serbian flag on the NSA building in downtown Bujanovac, but NSA leader Ragmi Mustafa has put up an Albanian flag.

The police have been filing misdemeanor charges against Mustafa, employees and directors of public institutions for years, and they are being repeatedly fined for violating the Law on the Design and Use of the Coat-of-arms, Flag and Anthem of the Republic of Serbia.

The Law says that, unless stipulated otherwise by an international agreement, a legal person that displays the coat-of-arms or flag of a foreign country in the Republic of Serbia without displaying Serbia’s the coat-of-arms, that is, flag, will be fined with 50,000 to 500,000 Dinar (1 Euro – 118 Dinar).

Under the legislation on national minorities, communities are allowed to use national symbols but ones that are not identical to those of their home state.

The ethnic Albanians are refusing to change a single detail in their national symbols, citing Serbia’s Constitution, which, according to their interpretation, guarantees them the use of their symbols.