30 November 2006

Some 1,200 displaced persons from Kosovo visit Orthodox graves, barricades near Suva Reka

Radio Television Serbia, Belgrade, Saturday, November 4, 2006 18:54


The Coordinating Center for Kosovo and Metohija organized the visit of approximately 1,200 displaced persons to the southern Serbian province on the occasion of Memorial Saturday so they could visit the graves (of their loved ones) in safety.


Several hundred Serbs from the northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica visited the Orthodox cemetery in the southern part of the city escorted by members of the Kosovo Police Service.


The visit to the cemetery in the southern part of Kosovska Mitrovica unfolded without incident but visitors established that many tombstones had been broken, fences destroyed and graves neglected.


More than 70 percent of tombstones in the Orthodox cemetery in the southern part of Kosovska Mitrovica have been desecrated and destroyed during the past seven years.


The greatest numbers of destroyed Serbian graves are in Metohija in the municipalities of Klina, Djakovica, Pec and Istok, followed by Srbica, Vucitrn, Podujevo and Kosovo Polje. In numerous cemeteries in central Kosovo vandals have opened the graves and human remains have been removed from some.


A memorial service for the deceased was served in Gracanica Monastery. After the service, a short memorial service was served in the monastery cemetery.


In Visoki Decani Monastery a memorial service was served by Metropolitan Nikolaj of Dabro-Bosnia and Bishop Teodosije (of Lipljan). Memorial Saturday on the eve of the feast of St. Demetrios (Nov. 8) was commemorated in all other monasteries of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren, as well as in all parish churches and cemeteries throughout Kosovo and Metohija.


Albanians put up barricades to stop Serb bus


However, several dozen Albanians used vehicles and logs to obstruct the road close to the cemetery in the village of Lesane near Suva Reka and prevented Serb refugees and internally displaced persons from visiting the graves of their family on Memorial Saturday.


After the bus was brought to a stop by the barricades, one extremist at the wheel of a tractor rammed the bus head on, advised the Coordinating Center for Kosovo and Metohija.


Since the bus was escorted by police, the police arrested the tractor driver but several dozen Albanians attacked both the police and the Serbs in the bus and the police then released him. The driver of the bus managed turn the bus around and leave the location of the attack.


No one was hurt in the attack.


The frightened Serbs were unable to visit the cemetery in Lesane for the first time in seven and a half years.


The Republic of Serbia's Coordinating Center for Kosovo and Metohija sharply condemned the actions of the Albanian extremists and appealed to the international community to note that the facts clearly indicate that even UNMIK and KFOR do not have control of the situation in Kosovo and Metohija, the Coordinating Center said in a written statement.


Serbs prevented from visiting ruins of destroyed church in Djakovica


Serbs from Djakovica were prevented from visiting the ruins of the destroyed church in Srpska Street on the occasion of Memorial Saturday, the KIM Info Service advised.


After a memorial service, lighting of candles and placing of flowers on the graves of their loved ones, the pilgrims intended to visit the destroyed church located in the center of Djakovica in Srpska Street. However, they were prevented from doing so by members of the Kosovo Police Service, allegedly because they were unable to ensure their safety, the KIM Info Service said in a written statement.


The group of faithful visiting the cemetery in Djakovica first attended a memorial service held in the location of the now destroyed cemetery chapel dedicated to the Holy Prince Lazarus and served by Protosingel Petar, abbot of Djurdjevi Stupovi (Pillars of St. George) Monastery and acting elder of Zociste Monastery.