Serbian army put on high alert near Kosovo border

by Fatos ByTC

ZVECAN, Kosovo (Reuters) – Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic put his army on high alert and ordered units closer to the border with Kosovo after clashes broke out between police and protesters in the Serb majority town on Friday.

“An immediate movement (of troops) towards the border with Kosovo has been ordered,” Minister Milos Vucevic said during a live television broadcast. “It is clear that there is terror against the Serb community in Kosovo,” he said.

Police and protesters clashed in the Kosovo town of Zvekan after a crowd tried to prevent the newly elected mayor of ethnic Albanian origin from entering the town hall building.

According to Reuters reporters, police responded with tear gas and a police vehicle was set on fire.

These clashes follow local elections boycotted by the Serbian minority.

About 50,000 Serbs living in four Kosovo municipalities, including Zvecan, abstained from the April 23 election, arguing that their demands for greater autonomy had been ignored, following an agreement to normalize relations between Kosovo and Serbia. Another setback for the concluded in March.

Kosovo gained independence from Serbia in 2008 with Western support after a 1998–1999 war in which NATO intervened to protect Albanian-majority Kosovo.

(Reporting by Reuters TV, Fatos Bytici, Aleksandar Vasovic and Ivana Sekularac; French version Zhifan Liu, Editing by Tangi Salon)

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