Police use tear gas to prevent escalation of violence in Kosovo

08:20, May 31, 2010      

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Police and soldiers took control of the bridge linking the ethnically divided town of Kosovska Mitrovica to prevent violence from escalating as a group of about 2000 ethnic Albanians, protesting Sunday's bi-elections in the Serb-dominated section of the town, pelted a group of assembled Serbs on the north bank, reported Radio Television Serbia.

Kosovo police, along with members of the international police and military missions, Eulex and KFOR, fired tear gas near the bridge over the Ibar River, which marks the ethnic dividing line in the town, when ethnic Albanian protesters and Serbs exchanged stone-throwing with each other, the report said.

Gun fire from automatic weapons was also alleged but there were no reports of injuries.

KFOR and Kosovo police, in full riot gear, assumed control of the bridge and closed it to traffic once the crowds had dispersed.

Veterans of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and opposition Albanian parties were protesting local elections in the Serb-held north of Kosovoska Mitrovica and nearby Novo Brdo. These municipal elections are supported by the Serbian government in Belgrade, but the EU mission in Kosovo has said it will not recognize the results of "parallel structures."

Source: Xinhua


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