24 January 2007

Protesters Paint-bomb Kosovo Government Seat And Assembly Buildings

Deutsche Presse Agentur, 04:15 PM, November 28th 2006

Thousands of Albanian demonstrators threw bottles with red paint at the Kosovo government seat and parliament buildings in Pristina, demanding immediate independence for the province and protesting at ongoing talks with Serbia.

The protest, led by the Vetevendosje (Self-determination) group of the former Kosovo Albanian student leader Albin Kurti, had snowballed into a large crowd of at least 5,000 an hour after it began.

The protest was called on the Flag Day in Albania proper, a national holiday. Several windows on either building in central Pristina were smashed by the paint-filled bottles.

Kurti wants an immediate end of any talks with Serbia, which still claims sovereignty over Kosovo, and the departure of the UN mission that has been governing the province since NATO ousted Belgrade's security forces from it in 1999.

Virtually all leaders representing the vastly dominant Kosovo Albanian majority want full independence quickly, but have agreed to talks with Serbia, launched 10 months ago, in a bid to secure sovereignty with the blessing of the international community.

The talks failed to bring the two sides any closer. A UN envoy, Martti Ahtisaari, is due to reveal his proposal for the resolution of the Kosovo issue after the January 21 parliamentary polls in Serbia.

Several Vetvendosje activists were arrested on the Albanian Flag Day last year after they smeared UN buildings and vehicles with paint.

So far Tuesday, there have been no arrests in Pristina.