Standoff in Tense North Kosovo, as Serb Protests Continue

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic told media on Thursday that he had "begged" locals in the north of Kosovo, protesting for the fourth day in a row in front of municipal buildings in the Serb-dominated area, "in their determination to persevere in the fight for law and justice, to do so always, above all, in relation to KFOR, in a peaceful way".

Vucic also announced that EU and US envoys Miroslav Lajcak and Gabriel Escobar will come to Serbia next week.

He spoke as locals in Zvecan/Zvecane, Zubin Potok and Leposavic/Leposaviq continued protests against newly-elected ethnic Albanian mayors who were installed last Friday under police guard.

At the same time, dozens of people have gathered in Albanian-majority South Mitrovica, after anonymous social media accounts, according to police, called on citizens to participate in a mass protest "with the intention of marching towards the North of the country".

Kosovo Interior Minister Xhelal Svecla urged citizens not to participate, claiming that according to "assessments by security institutions, this call is being spread by unknown persons and suspicious profiles on social networks". BIRN has been told that police have opened an investigation into this case.

The new contested mayors of Zubin Potok and Zvecan/Zvecane, from the opposition Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, have meanwhile decided to use alternative offices and not go to their municipality buildings after they met the US and EU ambassadors to Kosovo.

The new mayors of Leposavic/Leposaviq and North Mitrovica, from the ruling Vetevendosje party, are using their municipality buildings.

Prime Minister Albin Kurti repeated on Thursday that the new mayors should work from their municipality buildings.


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