Serb list requests NATO intervention in northern Kosovo
The leaders of the largest pro-Serb party in Kosovo requests that the NATO KFOR peacekeeping forces take down the Kosovo's flag from three municipalities in northern Kosovo.
The Serb List has requested that the NATO-led KFOR peacekeeping force take down the flag of the Republic of Kosovo from the Zvecan municipality and push out Kosovar police forces from the northern region, the Radio Television of Kosovo (RTK) said on Monday.
The head of the Serb list, the largest pro-Serb party in Kosovo, Goran Rakic, and his deputy Igor Simic were the ones who demanded that the flag be removed, according to RTK. The flag was put up by the "elected" mayor of Zvecan, Ilir Peci, which upset the local population.
Earlier, hundreds of ethnic Serbs in north Kosovo gathered at the local administration buildings urging the Kosovar police and officials to withdraw from the area. NATO deployed its peacekeeping forces in the area arming them with crowd dispersal devices at the municipalities of Zvecan, Leposaviq, and Zubin Potok. Police pushed back the crowds in Zvecan who attempted to storm the administrative building.
Serbian residents are expected to extend their protests until officials meet their demands, RTK said.
The US Ambassador to Kosovo, Jeffery Hovernier, met with Peci earlier today and the latter said he would continue his work normally regardless of the demonstrations.
On Sunday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stressed that Kosovo must not escalate or take unilateral decisions as he urged both Serbia and Kosovo to engage in EU-led talks.
This comes after local media reported on Friday that police forces of the self-proclaimed republic of Kosovo forced their way into an administrative building belonging to the northern municipality of Leposaviq and occupied it after two other buildings were raided in Zvecan and Zubin Potok.
On May 26, ethnic Serbs gathered in front of the buildings to prevent the police and ethnically Albanian politicians from entering the buildings.
Pristina authorities have been attempting to install ethnically Albanian mayors after the April 23 local elections in northern Kosovo where polls were declared valid despite the turnover of less than 3.5%.
Read more: NATO urges Kosovo to de-escalate with Serbia.