Riots and violent riots after the mayoral election

North Kosovo is predominantly inhabited by Serbs. They don’t recognize the new four mayors. That’s why there are currently riots.

There have been clashes between Serbs and the Kosovar police since Friday. 

There have been clashes between Serbs and the Kosovar police since Friday. Pixsell/Imago

After the swearing-in of newly elected mayors in the Serb-populated north of Kosovo, unrest broke out. At the municipal office in the village of Zvecan on Friday, Kosovar police dispersed Serb demonstrators who wanted to prevent the new mayor from taking office. The officials used tear gas and stun grenades, as local media reported. Violent protesters torched a police car.

The mayors in the four northern Kosovar municipalities have been sworn in over the past few days. The Serbs boycotted their election last month. Voter turnout was therefore only 3.5 percent. The new mayors in the area, which is almost exclusively inhabited by Serbs, come from Albanian parties. Albanians live almost exclusively in the rest of Kosovo.

Reason for the unrest: Serbia does not recognize Kosovo

The spokesman for the Kosovo Serbs, controlled by the government in Serbia, had called for a boycott of the recent mayoral election. Belgrade does not accept the country’s independence, which was declared in 2008, and is demanding its return.

The leadership in the capital Pristina blamed Belgrade for the unrest on Friday. “Serbia’s illegal and criminal structures in northern Kosovo received orders to escalate the situation on the ground,” wrote Blerim Vela, the chief of staff of Kosovar President Vjosa Osmani, on Twitter.

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