Kosovo Serbs Rally Against Import Tariffs Hike

Protesters rallied on Tuesday in the north of the divided town of Mitrovica, carrying placards with messages like "EU open your eyes", "All we are saying is give peace a chance", "They are beating and terrorising us", "We want peace - not new wars" and "Don't shut us in a ghetto".

The protest started soon after the mayors of four Serb majority municipalities in northern Kosovo resigned on Tuesday over the tariff hike on imports from Serbian, which took the rate from 10 per cent to 100 per cent. The move was retaliation for Belgrade's negative behaviour, Pristina officials said.

Goran Rakic, the president of the main Kosovo Serb party Srpska Lista and the mayor of North Mitrovica until he resigned, accused the international community of remaining silent about the "brutal and undemocratic" decisions made by Pristina.

His announcement that the mayors of all four Serb-majority municipalities in northern Kosovo have resigned in protest, and that the local administration is no longer under the "Pristina system" was hailed by applause.

"This is not because of a whim of ours, but because of the moves that do not allow Kosovo Serbs to have a normal life," Rakic said.

He argued the raised import taxes mean that "our children might not have normal living conditions tomorrow".

Rakic said that Friday's operation by Kosovo police special forces, which saw three suspects in the murder of Kosovo Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic arrested, was "brutal", and announced that peaceful protests will continue daily.

Among the protesters was controversial Kosovo Serb businessman Zvonko Veselinovic, who is being tried for alleged corruption in a road-building scheme.

The speaker of Kosovo parliament and the leader of Kosovo Democratic Party,...

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