31 October 2006

Serbs rally in Kosovska Mitrovica

Beta news agency, Belgrade, 2 October 2006 17:12

KOSOVSKA MITROVICA -- Several thousand Serbs protested "Kosovo's independence, Albanian terrorism and the division of Serbia".

Serbian negotiating team member Marko Jaksic said the Vienna talks were a failure because Albanians had exiled over 200,000 Serbs, burned holy Serb sites and their homes, snatched Serb land.

"They offered us political crumbs in Vienna. They understood decentralization as chance to establish control over the entire Kosovo territory, including those areas the Kosovo government now can't reach, meaning the north of the province", Jaksic said.

Jaksic welcomed the new Serbian constitution and asked Albanians to "take part in the constitutional referendum vote as members of an ethnic minority".

On behalf of the Serbs gathered in the Sumadija Square, Kosovska Mitrovica Serb National Council president Nebojsa Jovic appealed to the Serbian authorities not to hold a general election before the Kosovo status talks have finished.

Kosovska Mitrovica Faculty of Philosophy dean Dragi Malikovic and Kosovo Coordinating Center chairwoman's advisor Milan Secerovic also spoke at the rally, sending out clear messages that Kosovo is the source of the Serb spirituality and that Serbs will never agree to an independent Kosovo.

The main bridge over the Ibar river was closed during the rally, with a dozen UNMIK police vehicles and strong security.

UNMIK's special units prevented the protesters from taking the route they earlier intended to walk. UN police representatives explained this as a measure necessary to prevent incidents.