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Europe

Violence breaks out between ethnic Albanians and Serbs

Video by Olivia SALAZAR-WINSPEAR

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-25

European Union EULEX police have intervened in northern Kosovo, where ethnic Albanians and Serbs fought with rocks, grenades, and small arms, leaving seven people wounded. In the capital Pristina, dozens protested against EULEX's presence in Kosovo.

REUTERS - Seven people were wounded in northern Kosovo on Tuesday when minority Serbs and Albanians clashed in the ethnically divided city of Kosovska Mitrovica, a police official said.

 

Albanians and Serbs in the suburb of Brdjani, just outside the Serb-controlled northern part of Mitrovica, threw stones at each other. A hand grenade was detonated and the two groups briefly traded small-arms fire, said Sami Mehmeti, a Kosovo police spokesman.

 

“(The international) Eulex police used tear gas to disperse the crowd and the situation is now under control,” Mehmeti said.  “Five Albanian construction workers and two Serbs were injured by stones.”

 

Violence broke out after about 100 Serbs from the ethnically mixed neighbourhood rallied to protest the rebuilding of Albanian houses destroyed during the 1998-1999 Kosovo war.

 

In April, dozens of people including a French peacekeeper were wounded when local Serbs fought international peacekeepers and police to protest housing development in Brdjani.

 

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in February 2008, nine years after a NATO-led air war forced Serbian security forces out of the area, ending Belgrade’s crackdown against ethnic Albanians.

 

Following Kosovo’s independence declaration, the European Union deployed its police, customs and judiciary mission called Eulex to replace a United Nations mission.

 

In the capital Pristina, dozens of protesters led by an ethnic Albanian nationalist group rallied on Tuesday against the EU executive presence, damaging 24 Eulex vehicles. Kosovo police arrested 20 people, said Arber Beka, a police spokesman.

 

Date created : 2009-08-25

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