14 February 2007

Kosovo Self-Determination leader says rally is final warning to government

BBC Monitoring International Reports - December 2, 2006 Saturday


Text of report by Kosovo Albanian Kosovapress news agency website


Prishtina [Pristina], 28 November: Thousands of people attended the Self-Determination Movement rally today in Prishtina to protest against the Kosova [Kosovo] Negotiating Team and the political processes in the country. The protesters threw bottles of red paint at the buildings of the Kosova government, Assembly, and UNMIK [UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo] headquarters.


The demonstration began at 1400 [1300 GMT] in front of the Self-Determination Movement offices in Payton Town [neighbourhood in Pristina]. The protesters marched through the city centre to the Skenderbeg Square.


Addressing the crowd, Self-Determination Movement leader Albin Kurti said that the time had not come yet to celebrate the Flag Day in hotels and restaurants because, "in that way, we would contribute to the illusion, that politicians have been spreading among the people, that independence has already been won and that they can continue sleep".


"When a set of institutions are not democratic, then we are the democracy. When a set of institutions are not free, then we are the freedom. Today, we are celebrating through demonstration and we are demonstrating so that we can really celebrate one day like other free nations and societies," Kurti said.


According to him, the time has come for a popular, social, political, and national awakening in Kosova. Therefore, he said: "Politicians can conduct negotiations with Serbia in Vienna and they can make deals there, but they will not be able to carry out their plans here in Kosova."


"Politicians turned negotiators are leading these institutions and they are the ones that have sold out the will of 2 million people to our enemy, Serbia. This is unacceptable to us. We must realize that we will be totally free only when the Albanian flag is flown from the house of Isa Boletini [Albanian nationalist who fought against Turkey, Serbia at the beginning of the 20th century] in Zvecan," Kurti said.


The protesters then threw bottles with red paint at the Kosova government building and at the entrance of the assembly and its backyard.


Kurti said that this was minimal punishment and a final warning to the institutions and the Kosova Negotiating Team to respect the will of the people.


"This paint symbolizes the blood that the martyrs have shed so that Kosova could be free, but our politicians have desecrated this blood by agreeing to negotiations with Serbia. Therefore, this is minimal punishment and a final warning," Kurti said.


In addition to throwing bottles, the Self-Determination Movement activists left a letter with five reasons for organizing this protest in front of the assembly and government buildings.


The letter read: "You have been defending Serbia institutionally in Kosova. You have usurped and monopolized the entire political, economic, and social life in Kosova, thus denying the people of Kosova the right to be citizens and turning them into residents without asking them. You have corrupted the courts and the police, forcing them to work for you and not to protect the safety of the people. You have deprived the people of Kosova of their government, which is a universal right enjoyed even by autonomous territories, by usurping and holding to ransom the IPVQ [Provisional Institutions of Self-government] that you yourself have set up."


The protesters then marched past the Prishtina municipal building, chanting "Self-Determination" and "UCK [Kosovo Liberation Army - KLA]" and then stopped in front of the UNMIK headquarters. Up until this moment, there was no incident and no intervention by the ShPK [Kosovo Police Service].


In front of UNMIK headquarters, the UNMIK police intervened with teargas when protesters started to pull down a section of the concrete wall surrounding the building.


The police intervened at this moment, which triggered the protesters' reaction, who began to throw bottles with red paint, stones, and other objects. After this, the Self-Determination Movement activists called on the protesters to disperse.


Source: Kosovapress news agency website, Pristina, in Albanian 28 Nov 06