10 June 2007

Albanian protests against negotiations and protection of Serbian holy sites

Albanian demonstrators in Pristina chant slogans against Serbian Orthodox Church, demand destruction of churches
An already known style - violence and hatred toward Serbs and SOC holy shrines, demonstrations organized by Albin Kurti with KLA supporters in Pristina, Feb. 10, 2007

KIM Info Service, Pristina, February 10, 2007

Commentary by Fr. Sava Janjic, Serbian Orthodox Church

Thousands of Albanians who belong to the Self-Determination Movement and support the Kosovo Liberation Army protested today in Pristina against the Kosovo status plan of UN special envoy Martti Ahtisaari. Police used tear gas to stop the crowd from forcing its way through police lines. Several people were injured and arrests were made for acts of violence.

According to information from a KIM Info Service correspondent on the scene, Albanian demonstrators in Pristina today were also especially brutal in their verbal attacks on the Serbian Orthodox Church and protective measures for Serbian holy shrines foreseen by Martti Ahtisaari's plan.

One of the key messages constantly broadcast over the megaphone was that "the Serbs have occupied Albanian churches and monasteries where Albanians once prayed" and that "the SOC is asking for extraterritoriality for monasteries". The gathered demonstrators responded to these messages by periodically chanting "LET'S DESTROY THE CHURCHES . . . KLA, KLA, KLA".

The Serbian Orthodox Church most strongly condemns these barbaric messages by Albin Kurti and other extremist groups springing from KLA terrorist circles. With these messages Kurti and his extremists have openly shown who is behind the previous barbaric destruction of 150 Serbian Orthodox holy shrines in Kosovo, and the desecration of hundreds of Christian Orthodox cemeteries, especially during the March 2004 pogrom. The biggest absurdity in this whole story is the fact that if the Albanians truly consider the ancient Orthodox churches here as their own, then why did their extremists together with their ideologues such as Kurti and Demaci destroy those same holy shrines, inflicting public shame on their own people and the entire civilized world which silently looked on. These radical groups are exerting less and less effort to conceal their sympathies toward both the anachronistic Marxist-Leninist ideology of Enver Hoxha, whose portrait hangs in their offices, as well as toward the extremist Islamist groups that finance them. Kurti and his storm troopers do not see the future of Kosovo and the entire Balkans in Europe and European civilization but in clan societies, violence and hatred toward the Christian religion and culture. Hence the natural alliance between an apparently urban youth movement and the most extreme advocates of an ethnically pure Greater Albania.

Today's messages from the protest in Pristina show that Serbian Orthodox Church holy shrines are in dire need of special protective measures because they remain threatened by people wishing to destroy them and erase every trace of centuries of Christian life on this territory. It is notable, however, that today's demonstrations gathered only a few thousand people (a maximum of four thousand, according to independent estimates) which despite all gives hope that the future of Kosovo cannot and must not be in hatred and violence.

Hopefully, one day Kosovo Albanians will understand that they are not threatened by international representatives, the remaining Serbs or their church but by their own extremists and KLA tycoons, who have built enormous villas and gathered immeasurable wealth after the war while the majority of the people continue to live in difficult social conditions and poverty. Unfortunately, as is usually the case, the extremists are protecting the positions they have achieved by fanning hatred toward everything that is not Albanian, covering up their dirty deeds with the flag of the Republic of Albania, kitschy statues of the "heroes" of the KLA, and an aggressive nationalist mythology that cannot but remind us of the post-war partisanship in the former Yugoslavia. As long as young Kosovo Albanians are listening to and believing this ideology and until the day that young people take part in peaceful demonstrations against violence, crime and corruption instead of against their neighbors and Christian holy shrines, Kosovo will definitely remain a black hole on the map of Europe.
2. Demonstrations in Decani - Threats against UNMIK for protecting Visoki Decani Monastery continue 14 April 2006

Violent demonstrations in Pristina against the international community and protection offered to Serbs and their holy sites in Kosovo by Martti Ahtisaari's plan

Pristina: Police uses tear gas to disperse a large group of supporters of Self-Determination

KIM Radio, Caglavica, February 10, 2007

A protest gathering by the Self-Determination Movement headed by Albin Kurtin began in Pristina at about 2:00 p.m. Some four to five thousand demonstrators gathered to protest against the plan of UN special envoy for Kosovo's status Martti Ahtisaari. The protest began at the plateau in front of the headquarters of this organization which is located in the Gradic Pejton settlement. The column then headed toward the UNMIK headquarters building. However, according to KIM Radio's sources, demonstrators were met there by several police lines which sealed off the road. Demonstrators used a megaphone to inform citizens of their so-called demands. The Self-Determination Movement demanded that the Pristina negotiating team "commit suicide" because, in their opinion, negotiations are unnecessary.

On several occasions during the protest mention was made of the status of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo. They claim that the Orthodox Church has occupied Albanian churches, and that these are churches and monasteries where their ancestors prayed. The demonstrators chanted "KLA, KLA"; when the churches were mentioned, the message changed to "Let's destroy them, let's destroy them."

The column headed by Albin Kurti then proceeded to the monument to Skenderbeg, where the protest was to take place. The first speaker at the gathering was Adem Demachi, the political representative of the KLA, who repeated that their enemy was Serbia and that they are fighting against Serbian domination in Kosovo. Demachi mentioned that they are extending their hand to their Serb neighbors and that they have nothing against Serbs in Kosovo enjoying all human rights but they oppose the domination of Serbia in Kosovo. Demachi said that the Ahtisaari plan foresees granting extraterritorial status to the Serbian Orthodox Church. He emphasized that the Serbs are to get a form of autonomy through decentralization, and that new Serb municipalities are to have greater powers than Albanian ones.

The last speaker was Albin Kurti who sharply criticized the UNMIK mission and Kosovo provisional institutions. After his speech, the demonstrators headed toward the government building where they were met by strong police forces which fired large quantities of tear gas at the demonstrators. Kurti was then put in a police vehicle and taken from the protest at about 3:00 p.m., according to our sources.

The demonstrators concluded that Ahtisaari's plan foresees the creation of a Serb state within what they describe as their country - Kosovo - or a "country within a country". Presently there are still several hundred demonstrators in front of the government building who are attempting to stone the building.

"Peaceful protests" turned into violence as usual when demonstrators began removing protective barricades and throwing stones at UN Police