Sirens in north Kosovo, Petkovic: Kurti sent over police with rifles

Source: Tanjug/ Ivan Radulović

Sirens were heard Tuesday in the town of Zubin Potok in north Kosovo. The Serbian state TV (RTS) reported that several hundred Serbs assembled in the city center protesting over the Municipal Election Commission members’ plan to walk into the municipal administration building escorted by the police. Sirens were also heard in Kosovska Mitrovica, where the situation is calm for now, Kossev reported. Head of the Serbian Government's Office for Kosovo Petar Petkovic called on the Serbs to remain calm and stressed that Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti sent police officers with rifles to north Kosovo “in order to forcefully prepare the ground for the holding of his illegal elections.”

The mayors of the four Serb-dominated municipalities in north Kosovo – North Mitrovica, Leposavic, Zubin Potok and Zvecan – resigned on November 5 over the Kosovo Government decision to replace Serbian license plates with Kosovo ones, and over the suspension of Serb Kosovo Police commander of Region North Nenad Djuric who refused to issue warnings or fine drivers. Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani scheduled snap elections for the mayors of the North Mitrovica, Zubin Potok, Leposavic and Zvecan municipalities for December 18.

Shortly after 1 pm on Tuesday there was an incident in Zubin Potok, when representatives of municipal election commissions tried to enter the municipal election commission offices, and were prevented from doing so by a group of citizens, head of the civic initiative For Zubin Potok and former Zubin Potok councilor Milija Bisevac told Kossev.

New members of the Municipal Election Commission for the four Serb-dominated municipalities in north Kosovo attempted Tuesday to enter the Municipal Election Commission offices in the north, as they previously announced that they would. According to still unconfirmed information, they first arrived in the Zubin Potok administration building, accompanied by the police.

Sirens were sounded in this municipality soon after their arrival, following which a large group of people assembled outside the Municipal Election Commission offices.

Bisevac told Kossev that the people refused to allow the new commission members to enter the offices, which is when the police also intervened.

He said the police also used stun grenades, which, he said, the assembled people also confirmed and added that the sirens were turned off when the Election Commission representatives and the police vacated the municipal administration building.

Following the sirens, detonation were also heard in Kosovska Mitrovica, reported RTS’ correspondent. The Municipal Election Commission door had a lock on it, some of the windows were broken, while there were several hundred Serbs assembled in the vicinity, RTS reported.

Petkovic said this was “the most brutal demonstration of force, causing of new tensions and a provocation by Pristina,” which he accused of resorting to violence and unilateral actions to try to implement “its illegal, unlawful and unilateral measures and provoke a new destabilization of the situation on the ground.”

He stressed that the Kosovo Prime Minister directed and timed this to happen during the European Union (EU) – Western Balkans Summit which is held on Tuesday, December 6 in Tirana, Albania, adding that Kurti is planning to use violence and weapons “to overtake the four Serb municipalities in north Kosovo,” and to organize illegal and illegitimate elections at which ethnic Albanian representatives are to be elected.

“We call on the Serbs to remain calm and not fall for the provocations the sole purpose of which is to trigger conflicts and crises in north Kosovo and Metohija, because all our people want is the honoring of the law, the right to stay and survive on their centuries-old hearths.”