Kosovo police injured in angry Kosovo-Serbia border protests

Other News Materials 25 February 2008 23:16 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - At least ten Kosovo police officers were injured after being pelted with stones and bottles Monday by Serbs protesting the province's unilateral independence declaration at Kosovo's administrative border with Serbia.

Kosovo police stated that the Serb protesters, believed to be former military reservists, came to the border prepared to instigate violence, adding that trucks full of rocks, firefighters and ambulances came with the mob.

Police said the group of some 150 protesters threw stones and bottles at Kosovo police stationed at the border, injuring at least ten.

"Kosovo police had to fire teargas twice in order to push away the demonstrators, who were extremely aggressive," according to the police statement.

Last Tuesday, two border points were closed after protesting Serbs burned and destroyed crossings.

Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia on February 19, and has had its statehood recognized by the United States and many European Union countries.

The split of what Serbs consider the heartland of their culture, now home to a 90-per-cent majority ethnic Albanian population, spurred violent protests in Belgrade and other Serbian cities since Pristina's independence declaration.

Serbs in Belgrade torched the US embassy and attacked several others last Thursday after a peaceful protest against Kosovo independence turned violent and ended in one death, well over 100 injuries and looting of the city's downtown area.