Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti has reacted following the violent clashes taken place on Friday in the north of the country.
In a message posted on Twitter, the Kosovar PM says that “it is the right of those elected in democratic elections to assume office without threats or intimidation.” According to him, “it is also the right of citizens to be served by those elected officials.”
“Participation—not violent obstruction—is the proper way to express political views in a democracy,” Kurti said in his message.
Kurti says he understands the concerns voiced by the international community about this situation, “but all other options would be a violation of our constitutional obligations”.
Small groups of ethnic Serbs in northern Kosovo on Friday clashed with police while trying to block the entrance of municipal buildings to prevent recently-elected officials from entering them, according to local media.
Police fired tear gas and several cars were set ablaze. In response to the clashes, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said in a written statement carried on state-run RTS television that he put the army on a “higher state of alert.” Vucic also said that he ordered an “urgent” movement of Serbian troops to the border with Kosovo.
The media reports also said that because of “violence” against Kosovo Serbs, Vucic demanded that NATO-led troops stationed in Kosovo protect them from the Kosovo police.
Kosovo police acknowledged their increased presence in the north “to assist mayors of the northern communes of Zvecan, Leposavic and Zubin Potok to exert their right of work at the official objects.”
New mayors in three communes in northern Kosovo, which is mostly populated by an ethnic Serb minority, were prevented from entering the buildings with small groups of Serbs keeping their hands up at the entrance of the municipalities, apparently in a sign that they were not there to take part in violence, Albanian indexonline.net website wrote, also showing photos.