January 14, 2012
Police in Kosovo have used a brutal force to disperse hundreds of people who were blocking traffic entering from neighboring Serbia. The Kosovo Albanian protesters were trying to block two border crossings. They were protesting over what they say is Serbian obstruction of Kosovo’s independence since its secession in 2008.
Pristina, KOSOVO – by Vedat Xhymshiti
| Saturday, January 14, 2012 | The IndependenT NewsweeK |
Demonstrators in southeastern Kosovo-Serbia border point responded by throwing rocks. Over 120 people are detained and brutally beaten up. Kosovo Police units brutally attacked the protesters by not sparing even Kosovo MP’s.
A Gang-Police officer guarding the crowd in southeast
Kosovo-Serbia border #5 in Dheu i Bardhe.
(Corbis Photo/Vedat Xhymshiti)
Kosovo Police special units behaved as ‘gang unit’, by attacking journalists who were covering the developments of the brutal crackdown on Saturday, January 14, 2012 in Dheu i Bardhe bordering Serbia.
Several journalists are reportedly pepper sprayed in Merdare border, as well as several others injured including me as photojournalist who covered foreign European and U.S. press in southeastern border point #5.
Kosovo president Atifete Jahjaga, PM as well as Interior Minister, including the crowd of western ambassadors to Pristina also condemned “Vetevendosje” plan on border blockade. On the other hand, Kosovo minority Serbs have been blocking roads in northern Kosovo for over six months in protest against placing of Kosovo police and customs at border crossings. The barricades in northern Kosovo remains on the street, there’s no freedom of movement, and Kosovo government has no control over its northern borders points #1 and #31.
Kosovo Self-Determination movement supporters and its activists remained peacefully on the streets protesting Kosovo’s government “rebellion” which is not respecting nor accepting to implement Kosovo’s parliament decision to step up with the reciprocity process with neighboring Serbia.
38 days ago Kosovo parliament voted in favor of Self-Determination movement motion to re-gain the reciprocity process with Serbia, Kosovo prime minister Hashim Thaci on Friday accused opposition party “Vetevendosje” of trying to usurp power by force and vowed no violence would be tolerated.
Vetevendosje, or Self-Determination, has 14 deputies in the 120-seat parliament and is known for its radical stands. It blocked border crossing with Serbia on Saturday to prevent imports of Serbian goods, claiming Kosovo exports were barred by Serbia.
Serbia lost control over Kosovo in 1999, when NATO bombed for 78 days to halt the killing and expulsion of ethnic Albanians in a two-year counter-insurgency war under then-President Slobodan Milosevic. More than 80 countries, including the United States and 22 of the EU’s 27 members, have recognized the state, the last to emerge from the remains of old federal Yugoslavia. But Serbia’s ally Russia has blocked a resolution on independence in the United Nations Security Council.