Conflict & Justice

Dozens injured in Kosovo clashes


Serbia's residents attend a rally marking a historic battle at Gazimestan, near Pristina on June 28, 2012.



More than 50 people have been injured in fighting between police and Serbs visiting a historic battle site in Kosovo.

According to the BBC, a group of about 70 Serbs were travelling on two buses Thursday to Kosovo’s religious and historic Gazimestan site, where in 1389 the Serb army was defeated by the Ottoman Empire.

Police turned the Serbs back as they were “very aggressive, drunk and were provoking both police and citizens.” Clashes broke out, with the Serbs throwing stones and injuring dozens of police.

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Serb officials said at least three of the party had suffered gunshot wounds, while NATO peacekeepers said Molotov cocktails had been hurled at the Serbs’ buses as they passed through Kosovo’s capital, Pristina. In a statement, NATO’s mission in Kosovo condemned the violence, saying:

“This shameful action is contrary to the integrity of the maintenance of a safe and secure environment for all people in Kosovo,” Reuters reported.

Kosovo’s ethnic Albania majority broke away from Serbia and declared independence in 2008, with support from most of the European Union and the US. According to Bloomberg, Serbia’s efforts to become a member of the EU are conditioned on it improving relations with its former province, where around 130,000 Serbs live among Kosovo’s Albania population of 2 million.