January 15, 2012
Kosovo Police used teargas and water cannons to disperse Self-Determination party members and its supporters who first asked and plead the police to let them go to the Merdare in northeastern and Dheu i Bardhe southeastern Kosovo-Serbia border, claiming they had nothing against police, but against Serbia.
Pristina, KOSOVO – by Vedat Xhymshiti
| Saturday, January 14, 2012 | The Independent |
“Go and use force in Serbia, not against us,” the protesters yelled at the police. While they used it as an excuse to attack the peaceful crowd of several hundred Albanian protesters who were gathering together asking the countries contested government to implement the 38 days ago parliamentary decision in Kosovo.
The first clashes in Merdare took place around 13:00 CET when protesters tried to force their way through a police cordon at the Podujevo-Merdare road. The Kosovo police used pepper spray while the protesters threw rocks and snowballs at them.
The police cordon stopped the Self-Determination Movement members on the Podujevo-Merdare road and prevented them from reaching the Merdare administrative crossing.
Kurti a leader of Self-Determination explained earlier that they would only block trucks carrying goods from central Serbia to Kosovo and added that people would be able to cross the administrative line without any problems. “Our goal is to establish reciprocity in relations with Serbia,” he stressed.
Strong police forces were present on the road leading toward Dheu i Bardhe crossing and they controlled all vehicles.
A crowd of several tenth local Serbs in southern side of the Albanian protestors crowd, fired pirate-crackers and chanted ‘Serbia-Serbia’ trying to provoke the crowd by the top of the Hill of Ranillug a Serb dominated village in southeastern Kosovo.
The un-warned brutal crackdown of Kosovo (gangsters) police Unit against the peacefully protestors who were standing beside the road in southeastern Kosovo-Serbia border Dheu i Bardhe, started at 17.30 CET.
Kosovo Police forces behavior was not at all on the professional level stated Council for the Human Rights Defence in Kosovo which condemns the police action as they said it provoked the situation and it was not necessary since the protesters goal had nothing to do with police organization, but its goal was against Serbia which refuses to recognize Kosovo’s proclaimed Independence since 2008.
Kosovo riot police also used unnecessary physical violence against the national reporters in Merdare crossing as well as against foreign reporters in Dheu i Bardhe crossing.
Anti-Kosovo citizen brutal crackdown ended up with more then 120 Self-Determination detained activists including Kosovo parliament deputies, who are suppose to have immunity in relation to any situation, more then dozens of them are slightly and seriously injured and some tenth Kosovo Police members who suffered injuries by tear gas, which was expulsed by their colleagues.
Serbia and Kosovo have mutually imposed embargoes on goods, as Serbia has refused to recognize the independence of its erstwhile province. Over the summer and fall of 2011, ethnic Serbs in Northern Kosovo staged massive roadblocks in order to prevent Kosovo authorities taking over checkpoints to Serbia and imposing the embargo.
Serbs continue to hold the roadblocks of main roads to stop the country’s ethnic Albanian leadership from extending their control over northern parts of Kosovo. Ethnic Albanian government in Pristina insists it will take over control of northern Kosovo but has failed to take concrete steps since last July 2011.
Scores of Serb civilians and NATO soldiers have been injured in ensuing clashes and one Kosovo policeman was killed in July. Those troubles started when Kosovo sent special police units to the northern border to enforce a trade ban with Serbia but were turned back by armed Serbs.
Vetevendosje, or Self-Determination, has 14 deputies in the 120-seat parliament and is known for its radical stands. It tried a blockade of border crossing with Serbia on Saturday to prevent imports of Serbian goods, claiming Kosovo exports were barred by Serbia, but they faced brutal attack by state riot police forces who didn’t spare even journalists.
Trucks carrying goods from central Serbia are now entering Kosovo by the central Serbian side of the Merdare crossing confirmed Kosovo Interior Ministry.
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.