2008 protests in Serbia

Protests in Serbia followed the proclamation of independence by Kosovo on February 17, 2008.

The Prime Minister of Serbia, Vojislav Koštunica, blamed the United States for being "ready to violate the international order for its own military interests" and stated that "Today, this policy of force thinks that it has triumphed by establishing a false state. [...] As long as the Serb people exist, Kosovo will be Serbia."cite news|url=http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSL1743063|title=Serbia condemns breakaway Kosovo as "false state"|publisher=Reuters|date=2008-02-17|accessdate=2008-02-17]

February 17-20, 2008

* On February 17, approximately 2,000 Serbs protested at the United States embassy in Belgrade, with some throwing stones and firecrackers at the building before being driven back by riot police.cite web|url=http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/02/17/europe/kosovo.php|title=Kosovo declares independence|publisher=International Herald Tribune Europe|date=2008-02-17|accessdate=2008-02-17]

* On February 18, a false bomb threat was called on a Slovenian Mercator store in Belgrade. [cite web | title = Serbia calls for calm protests, cuts diplomatic ties (Roundup) - Europe | url=http://news.monstersandcritics.com/europe/news/article_1391824.php/Serbia_calls_for_calm_protests_cuts_diplomatic_ties__Roundup_ | accessdate = 2008-02-22 | year = 2008 ] It was also announced that Beovizija 2008, originally scheduled for February 19, would be rescheduled to March 10 and 11. [cite web | title = Zbog stanja na Kosovu do daljnjeg otkazana Beovizija | url=http://www.vecernji.hr/newsroom/scena/3016227/index.do | accessdate = 2008-02-22 | year = 2008 ] In the multi-ethnic northern Serbian town of Subotica, approximately 300 protesting Serbs youths chanted nationalist slogans directed against the country's Albanian, Hungarian and Croat communities. [ [http://www.suboticadanas.info/html/index.php?module=Pagesetter&func=viewpub&tid=3&pid=2359 Last night in Subotica a protest was held due in response to the declaration of independence by Kosovo] ]

* On February 19, Serbian protestors destroyed two UNMIK border checkpoints between Kosovo and Central Serbia. [cite web | title = Srpski prosvjednici uništili dvije kontrolne točke UNMIK-a na Kosovu | url=http://www.vecernji.hr/newsroom/news/international/3016405/index.do | accessdate = 2008-02-22 | year = 2008 ] Serbian minister for Kosovo, Slobodan Samardžić, declared that the act was legitimate and in line with the Government of Serbia's position. [cite web | title = Samardžić: Demoliranje kontrolnih točaka UNMIK-a je legitimno i u skladu s politikom srbijanske vlade | url=http://www.vecernji.hr/newsroom/news/international/3017063/index.do | accessdate = 2008-02-22 | year = 2008 ] A group called Mlada Bosna (Young Bosnia) also claimed responsibility for a string of hand-grenade attacks after Kosovo's declaration. [cite web | title = Sign Up | url=http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-fg-kosovo20feb20,1,5114441.story | accessdate = 2008-02-22 | year = 2008 ] Protestors also damaged several foreign businesses in Užice, including Société Générale, UniCredit and the Croatian-owned supermarket Idea. [cite web | title = SEEbiz.eu - Retailing - Todorić’s Idea attacked in Užice | url=http://www.seebiz.eu/en/corporate/retailing/todoric%E2%80%99s-idea-attacked-in-uzice,9023.html | accessdate = 2008-02-22 | year = 2008 ] The Serbian division of U.S. Steel, based in Smederevo, had a false bomb threat called in. [cite web | title = B92 - Vesti - Neredi u gradovima Srbije - Internet, Radio i TV stanica; najnovije vesti iz Srbije | url=http://xs4.b92.net/info/vesti/index.php?yyyy=2008&mm=02&dd=19&nav_id=285477 | accessdate = 2008-02-22 | year = 2008 ] In Belgrade, stones were thrown by protestors at the Turkish embassy. [cite web | title = Serbia tries to claw back Kosovo - SBS World News Australia | url=http://news.sbs.com.au/worldnewsaustralia/serbia_tries_to_claw_back_kosovo_540834 | accessdate = 2008-02-22 | year = 2008 ]

* On February 20, the Australian embassy in Belgrade was closed in anticipation of the following day's protests. [cite web | title = Protesters want Kosovo decision reversed - Breaking News - National - Breaking News | url=http://news.theage.com.au/australian-embassy-in-serbia-closed/20080222-1tv5.html | accessdate = 2008-02-22 | year = 2008 ] A protest in Niš drew several thousand people and was peaceful. [ [http://www.b92.net/eng/news/society-article.php?yyyy=2008&mm=02&dd=20&nav_id=47853 Niš: Several thousand students protest] , B92, February 20, 2008]

"Kosovo is Serbia" protest

thumb|350px|right|Kosovo is Serbia rally">
on February 21, 2008 in Belgrade

On February 21, a very large demonstration called "Kosovo is Serbia" was held in Belgrade in front of the Parliament organized by the Serbian government, with between 500,000 and 1,000,000 people attending. Many of the demonstrators waved Serbian flags, while some carried signs reading "Stop USA terror". Protesters booed and jeered at every mention of the United States and the European Union as Nikolić accused them of being responsible for the perceived theft of Kosovo. [cite web | title = Al Jazeera English - News - Serb Protesters Attack Us Embassy | url=http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/91E52CBB-CD67-4316-B3AB-DCBD1DEEAD86.htm | accessdate = 2008-02-22 | year = 2008 ]

Speakers at the protest were:
*Vojislav Koštunica, Prime Minister of Serbia (Democratic Party of Serbia)
*Tomislav Nikolić, Serbian opposition leader (Serbian Radical Party)
*Milorad Dodik, Prime Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina's Republic of Srbska (Alliance of Independent Social Democrats)
*Andrija Mandić, Serb opposition leader from Montenegro (Serb People's Party)
*Predrag Popović, opposition politician from Montenegro (People's Party)
*Dejan Bodiroga, basketball player
*Emir Kusturica, filmmaker
*Novak Đoković, tennis player (through video link)
*Ivana Žigon, actress
*Nenad Jezdić, actor
*Nataša Tapušković, actress
*Alexander Karađorđević, Crown Prince of Yugoslavia, successor to the Serbian throne and head of the House of KaradjordjevicAfter the protest, people went to the Temple of Saint Sava for a religious service, where a speech was held by acting head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Archbishop Amfilohije Risto Radović of Montenegro and the Littoral.

The president of Serbia and commander-in-chief of Serbian Armed Forces, Boris Tadic (Democratic Party), did not attend. The rally was not supported by the Liberal Democratic Party [cite web | title = :: Liberalno demokratska partija :: Vesti | url=http://www.ldp.org.yu/info/news.jsp?id=898 | accessdate = 2008-02-22 | year = 2008 ] nor by the League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina, [cite web | title = Liga socijaldemokrata Vojvodine | url=http://www.lsv.org.yu/cnt/index.php?uid=aWRfbm9kZT0yMjUmaWRfcGFnZT0yOTYx#PID2961 | accessdate = 2008-02-22 | year = 2008 ] both of which are represented in Parliament.

The protest was peaceful until participants arrived at the US and Croatian embassies, where a group of about 1000 rioters [cite news|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7260613.stm|title=US starts evacuation from Serbia|publisher=BBC|date=2008-02-23|accessdate=2008-02-23] separated themselves and started attacking the two embassies. They burned the US embassy and caused minor damage to the Croatian embassy. [cite news | url=http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080221/ap_on_re_eu/serbia_kosovo_independence | title= Belgrade's US Embassy set on fire | date=2008-02-21 | publisher=Associated Press] Emergency services were able to put the fire out after protesters dissipated. [cite web | title = Furious U.S. warns Serbs over Belgrade embassy attack | url=http://www.startribune.com/15842192.html | accessdate = 2008-02-22 | year = 2008 ] At around 5 PM EST, American news service CNN reported that "charred remains" of an individual had been found inside the burnt-out offices. Flags of both the United States and Croatia were also burnt. [cite web | title = U Beogradu napadnute hrvatska i američka ambasada - Jutarnji.hr | url=http://www.jutarnji.hr/svijet/clanak/art-2008,2,21,,109553.jl | accessdate = 2008-02-22 | year = 2008 ] In response, a group of around fifty Croatian protesters burnt the Serbian flag in central Zagreb, after which the police arrested 44 of them. [cite web | title = Gnjevni Boysi zapalili srpsku zastavu - Jutarnji.hr | url=http://www.jutarnji.hr/dogadjaji_dana/clanak/art-2008,2,21,,109602.jl | accessdate = 2008-02-22 | year = 2008 ] Police guarded the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade on February 22. [cite news | title = Fresh violence in Kosovo Serb protests - CNN.com | url=http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/02/22/serbia.kosovo/index.html | accessdate = 2008-02-22 | year = 2008 ] Protestors also broke windows of the embassy of Slovenia, the state that controls the EU presidency. [cite news|url=http://www.dailymail.com/News/200802170255|title=Kosovo declares independence from Serbia; Russia protests, warning it will stir conflict|publisher=Charleston Daily Mail|date=2008-02-17|accessdate=2008-02-17] Other foreign embassies damaged in the course of the protest included those of Belgium, Germany and Turkey. [cite web | title = DNEVNIAVAZ.BA - Multimedija - Huligani pale i ruše sve pred sobom! | url=http://www.dnevniavaz.ba/multimedija/foto-galerije/huligani-pale-i-ruse-sve-pred-sobom | accessdate = 2008-02-22 | year = 2008 ] [http://www.vecernji.hr/newsroom/news/international/3018717/index.do German embassy stopped giving visas to Serbian citizens] , Večernji list] In Belgrade and Novi Sad, McDonald's shops were damaged by protestors. [cite news|url=http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,23231577-912,00.html|title=Serbian president rejects Kosovo independence declaration|publisher=Adelaide Now|date=2008-02-17|accessdate=2008-02-17] According to Serbian sources, the violent protestors were ad hoc football fans. 54 policemen and 34 citizens were injured. A Dutch journalist suffered broken ribs. [cite web | title = Ongoing violence threatens relations with Serbia – EU - News news | url=http://www.sofiaecho.com/article/ongoing-violence-threatens-relations-with-serbia--eu/id_27741/catid_66 | accessdate = 2008-02-22 | year = 2008 ] Serbian politicians condemned the violence. [cite web | title = Blic Online | Politika | Predsednik Tadić neće govoriti na mitingu | url=http://www.blic.co.yu/politika.php?id=31082 | accessdate = 2008-02-22 | year = 2008 ] The total damage from the violence was estimated at over 8 million Serbian dinars ($US 143,000). [http://www.b92.net/info/vesti/index.php?yyyy=2008&mm=02&dd=22&nav_id=285931&nav_category=640 Account of yesterday's chaos] , B92, February 22, 2008] The United Nations Security Council responded to these incidents by issuing a unanimous statement that, "The members of the Security Council condemn in the strongest terms the mob attacks against embassies in Belgrade, which have resulted in damage to embassy premises and have endangered diplomatic personnel," noting that the 1961 Vienna Convention requires host state states to protect embassies. [cite news|url=http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSN21520115|title=U.N. council condemns Belgrade embassy attacks|publisher=Reuters|date=2008-02-21|accessdate=2008-02-21] In response to the attacks, the German embassy announced that it would temporarily stop granting visas to Serbian citizens.Also on February 21, Serbian army reservists from Kuršumlija took their protest into Kosovo, during which time they attacked the Kosovo Police Service with stones. [cite web | title = Srbijanski rezervisti kamenjem gađali kosovsku policiju na prijelazu Merdare | url=http://www.vecernji.hr/newsroom/news/international/3018157/index.do | accessdate = 2008-02-22 | year = 2008 ] An explosive was set off in the Kosovo Serb enclave of Kosovska Mitrovica near a United Nations-run courthouse. [cite web | title = Javno - World | url=http://www.javno.com/en/world/clanak.php?id=125758 | accessdate = 2008-02-22 | year = 2008 ] During the rally there were people who carried portarits of ICTY-fugitive former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and the blue-red flag of the far-right Orthodox organization Obraz. [cite web | title = Belgrade Riots - Photo Essays - TIME | url=http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1715332_1538115,00.html | accessdate = 2008-02-22 | year = 2008 ] In Kraljevo, Obraz was responsible for the vandalization of an Evangelical church. In Valjevo, a Slovenian firm "Sava Osiguranje" was set on fire, most likely by protesting youths. [ [http://patak.mediaonweb.org/sh/1177/10/8103/ Office of Slovenian firm Sava Osiguranje set on fire] , February 22, 2008] The Radio Television of Serbia took American films and sitcoms off the air, replacing them with content from Spain and Russia, who have been against Kosovo's independence. [cite web | title = US-Serb Tension Mounts Over Kosovo - TIME | url=http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1715480,00.html | accessdate = 2008-02-22 | year = 2008 ]

February 22

On February 22, NATO's Kosovo Force (KFOR) began blocking entrance into Kosovo from Central Serbia to those who "threaten public order" after several hundred students from Belgrade, Niš, and Kragujevac attempted to cross in. [cite web | title = B92 - News - Politics - North Kosovo: UNMIK, students in new disturbance | url=http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2008&mm=02&dd=22&nav_id=47904 | accessdate = 2008-02-22 | year = 2008 ] Despite the blockade, some of the protestors managed to make their way to Kosovska Mitrovica where they took part in clashes against UN police. [cite web | title = The Associated Press: Kosovo Serb Protesters Attack UN Police | url=http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5ie7MkLvjbbKQiGvfank1pUVZvYywD8UVJT9O2 | accessdate = 2008-02-22 | year = 2008 ] The Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration warned against travelling to Belgrade, resulting in the cancellation of an Adriatic League basketball match between Zagreb's KK Cibona and Belgrade's KK Partizan. [cite web | title = Sportal.hr - Cibona vraćena iz Beograda, Partizan garantira sigurnost | url=http://www.sportal.hr/sportal/sportal/kosarka/nlb/3018890/index.do | accessdate = 2008-02-22 | year = 2008 ] A concert by the Croatian band Hladno pivo scheduled for February 29 was similarly cancelled. [cite web | title = Otkazan koncert Hladnog piva u Beogradu - Jutarnji.hr | url=http://www.jutarnji.hr/kultura_i_zivot/showbiz/clanak/art-2008,2,22,,109690.jl | accessdate = 2008-02-22 | year = 2008 ] Also on February 22, the United States embassy in Serbia ordered the temporary evacuation of all non-essential personnel, after the protests and attacks on the embassy. Rian Harris, a U.S. embassy spokeswoman, explained the evacuation to AFP saying that "Dependents are being temporarily ordered to depart Belgrade. We do not have confidence that Serbian authorities can provide security for our staff members." [cite news|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7259327.stm|title=US to evacuate staff from Serbia|publisher=BBC News|date=2008-02-22|accessdate=2008-02-22] Slovenia also closed its own embassy, recommending its citizens not to travel to Serbia. [cite web | title = B92 - Vesti - Ambasada Slovenije zatvorena - Internet, Radio i TV stanica; najnovije vesti iz Srbije | url=http://www.b92.net/info/vesti/index.php?yyyy=2008&mm=02&dd=23&nav_id=286121&nav_category=640 | accessdate = 2008-02-23 | year = 2008 ] The European Union froze talks with Serbia on the Stabilization and Association Agreement, the country's next step in EU-integration. [cite web | title = TODAY'S ZAMAN | url=http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/detaylar.do?load=detay&link=134749 | accessdate = 2008-02-22 | year = 2008 ] Meanwhile, nationalist organizations were reportedly spreading leaflets urging citizens to boycott banks and goods coming from the countries that support the independence of Kosovo. [cite web | title = Serbia gives reminder of defiance under Milosevic - Europe, News - Independent.co.uk | url=http://www.independent.co.uk/news/europe/serbia-gives-reminder-of-defiance-under-milosevic-786167.html | accessdate = 2008-02-22 | year = 2008 ]

February 23

BBC News reported that nationalist Serbs are seeking to permanently separate North Kosovo from Priština, through a strategy of confrontation, sabotage, and low-level violence directed against international institutions. [cite news | title = Serbs enact plan to sabotage Kosovo | url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7260283.stm | accessdate = 2008-02-23 | year = 2008 ] With continued Serb protests in northern Mitrovica, EU staff withdrew from the area. [ [http://www.theage.com.au/news/world/eu-staff-flee-from-kosovos-split-city/2008/02/24/1203788144278.html EU staff flee from Kosovo's split city] ] The American embassy drew down staffing in Belgrade with a convoy headed to Croatia.cite news | first= | last= | coauthors= | title=US starts evacuation from Serbia | date=2008-02-23 | publisher=BBC | url =http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7260613.stm | work =www.bbc.co.uk | pages = | accessdate = 2008-02-24 | language = ]

By this time, Serbian authorities reported that 200 rioters from the Belgrade protest had been arrested. [http://www.vecernji.hr/newsroom/news/international/3019798/index.do;jsessionid=D68F156C15859CB09C0F3EF1D356353C.2 Serbia: Police and Authorities Allowed Attacks] , Večernji list, February 23, 2008] The Kosovo-Central Serbia border crossings had also been normalized.

The Liberal Democratic Party and the League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina again expressed criticism of prime minister Koštunica and his handling of the events since Kosovo's declaration. [ [http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/world-news/serbia-on-verge-of-isolation-after-riots_10020530.html Serbia on verge of isolation after riots] ]

February 24

With the seventh consecutive day of Serb protesting in Mitrovica, the February 24 protest drew approximately 1000 people. [ [http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/003200802242021.htm Kosovo marks its first full week of independence] ] Despite some Serbian media outlets' claim to the contrary, Serbs from Northern Kosovo (which includes Mitrovica) have not been leaving the Kosovo Police Service. [ [http://www.b92.net/info/vesti/index.php?yyyy=2008&mm=02&dd=24&nav_category=640&nav_id=286215 Serbs not leaving the KPS] , B92, February 24, 2008] The United States' ambassador to Serbia called on the country's leaders to do more to protect foreign diplomatic missions. [ [http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/02/24/serbia.kosovo/index.html U.S. ambassador angered by Serb violence] ]

February 25

Protest in Mitrovica drew 2000 people on February 25, during which the EU flag was burnt. [ [http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5g1zMRGritCtusBjGtSPaGxk1ef-wD8V1F0080 Protesters in North Kosovo Burn EU Flag] , Associated Press, February 25, 2008] On the Kosovo-Central Serbia border, 19 Kosovo police officers were injured by Serb protestors, before receiving additional help from NATO peacekeepers who dispersed the group. [ [http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-02/26/content_7669172.htm Protest at Kosovo border post injures 19 police officers] ]

February 26

Serbia's National Security Council met to discuss how police had failed to stop the mob from attacking the embassy on the 21st. [cite news|url=http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5hQ9cHqoJwJLtLGw2m93m-Dmn21NA|title=Serbia probes police inaction during embassy attacks|publisher=AFP/Google|date=2008-02-26|accessdate=2008-02-27] Later on the 26st, about 10,000 protested in Banja Luka; a small group of them later approached the U.S. embassy branch office, damaging shopfronts and stoning police who blocked their path. Eventually, they were dispersed by tear gas.cite news|url=http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gNVYBM5Ty-bCuSL_U2thjnazb5IQD8V234C80|title=Bosnian Serbs Try to Storm US Consulate|publisher=AP/Google|date=2008-02-26|accessdate=2008-02-27] The United States raised its travel alert for Serbia to a travel warning. [cite news|url=http://travel.latimes.com/daily-deal-blog/?p=1399|title=U.S. heightens travel warning in Serbia|publisher=Los Angeles Times|date=February 26, 2008|accessdate=2008-02-27] Protests continued in Mitrovica where students staged a mock football (soccer) game in which one team represented Serbia and the other team states which have recognized Kosovo. [cite news|url=http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-02/27/content_7674600.htm|title=Kosovo Serbs protest independence declaration with mock soccer game|publisher=Xinhua|date=2008-02-27|accessdate=2008-02-27] Zoran Vujović, the protestor who died during the attack on the U.S. embassy, was buried in Novi Sad on February 26. [http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/02/27/europe/EU-GEN-Serbia-Kosovo-Independence.php Serbs mourn youth who died in riots targeting US embassy] , International Herald Tribune, February 27, 2008] Several thousand people attended the funeral.

February 27

Human Rights Watch said that "Serbia's government should act quickly to reduce the dangerously hostile climate for human rights groups" since the Kosovo declaration. [ [http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWB.NSF/db900SID/MMAH-7C88BX?OpenDocument Serbia: Protect civil society and minorities - Government should unequivocally condemn and quell violence] ] On February 29, Serbian police charged 80 people in connection with the embassy attacks. [ [http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hpr6A1CoyljFg5C6fWl5zR3OmQ9wD8V41VB80 Serbia Charges 80 People Over Riots] ]

February 28

Largest protest in Valjevo drew a crowd of several thousand people on February 28 [ [http://www.pressonline.co.yu/vest.jsp?id=31033 Press Online :: Srednjoškolci u protestu zbog Kosova ] ]

March 5 - 6

Protests in Mitrovica drew thousands on March 6, as well as several hundred in Gračanica, including suspended Serb policemen of KPS. [ [http://www3.pressonline.co.yu/vest.jsp?id=31442 Press Online :: Protesti Srba u Gračanici ] ] [ [http://www.rtv.co.yu/sr/vesti/politika/kosovo_i_metohija/2008_03_06/vest_54002.jsp Protesti na Kosovu – i danas - RADIO TELEVIZIJA VOJVODINE ] ]

Seizure of UN courthouse in Mitrovica

On March 14, 2008, after staging rallies for several weeks that prevented ethnic Albanian court employees from entering a UN courthouse in the northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica, hundreds of Kosovo Serbs broke into the building in the Serb-dominated part of the city, forcing UN police to retreat. [cite news|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7296262.stm|title=Kosovo Serbs seize UN courthouse|publisher=BBC News|date=2008-03-14|accessdate=2008-03-14] UN officials' negotiations with the Serbs to end the occupation were unsuccessful, and on March 17 UN police with the assistance of NATO-led KFOR forces entered the courthouse in a pre-dawn raid. When they arrived they were pelted with stones by around 100 Serbs. When they came out after arresting 53 of the protesters inside the courthouse they were attacked with gunfire, grenades and rocks by several hundred protesters who had massed outside.cite news|url=http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5ji84LRNNCuZVZ2vCngmqvnNEpyjQ|title=UN police forced out of Kosovo town after clashes|publisher=Agence France Presse|date=2008-03-17|accessdate=2008-03-17] About half of the protesters who had been arrested were freed by fellow protesters during the clashes with the rest being released by the UN after questioning.cite news | first=Radul | last=Radovanovic | coauthors= | title=Peacekeepers battle Serbs in Kosovo | date=2008-03-17 | publisher=Yahoo News | url =http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080317/ap_on_re_eu/kosovo_serbs | work =Associated Press | pages = | accessdate = 2008-03-18 | language = ]

The clashes lasted until around noon. One Ukrainian police officer was killed, 70 Serbs and 61 UN and NATO peacekeepers were wounded, and one UN vehicle and one NATO truck were set ablaze. Among the wounded international troops were 27 Polish and 14 Ukrainian police officers and 20 French soldiers. UN police withdrew from northern Mitrovica, leaving the area under the control of the NATO forces.cite news|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7300015.stm|title=Kosovo clashes force UN pullout|publisher=BBC News|date=2008-03-17|accessdate=2008-03-17] cite news | first= | last= | coauthors= | title=UN officer dies after Kosovo riot | date=2008-03-18 | publisher= | url =http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7300015.stm | work =BBC News | pages = | accessdate = 2008-03-18 | language = ]

Gen. John Craddock, NATO's top commander, said that after speaking with NATO commanders in Kosovo that NATO did not feel it necessary to send reinforcements to Kosovo. On 19 March, UN police began to patrol parts of north Mitrovica again together with local Kosovo police, while the NATO peacekeepers still remained in overall control of security at the courthouse and generally in the north of Kosovo. A gradual transition to civilian control will happen over the next days.cite news | first= | last= | coauthors= | title=UN police back in north Mitrovica | date=2008-03-19 | publisher= | url =http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7305752.stm | work =BBC News | pages = | accessdate = 2008-03-19 | language = ]

Reactions

*|accessdate=2008-03-03]

*flag|US Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried said Kosovo's response to the "provocations in the north" vindicates the US's decision to recognize Kosovo's independence declaration. [cite news|url=http://www.reuters.com/article/europeCrisis/idUSL07772718|title=US condemns Serb "provocations" in north Kosovo|publisher=Reuters|date=2008-03-07|accessdate=2008-03-07] Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged Serbian leaders to press the minority Serb community in Kosovo to avoid "provocative action" following the clashes in Mitrovica March 17.cite news|url=http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5j1nilUdGUo-YAoKqjtcPqMJyPmzw|title=Rice urges Serbian leaders to rein in Kosovo Serbs|publisher=Agence France Presse|date=2008-03-17|accessdate=2008-03-17]

*EU officials urged for UNMIK to secure the borders of Kosovo leading up to the arrival of the EU's mission in Kosovo with Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen saying they wanted to avoid a "soft partition" of Kosovo. [cite news|url=http://www.reuters.com/article/newsMaps/idUSL1081490220080310|title=EU urges U.N. to step up Kosovo-Serbia security|publisher=Reuters|date=2008-03-10|accessdate=2008-03-10]

*SRB's President Boris Tadic accused the international forces in Kosovo of using "excessive force" and warned of "an escalation of unrest on all the territory of the province" following clashes in Mitrovica over UN court seizures. Serbia's caretaker Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said his government was consulting with Russia on joint steps to stop "all forms of violence against Kosovo Serbs" and accused NATO of "implementing a policy of force against Serbia". It was reported steps could include the deployment of Russian troops in the north. [cite news|url=http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSL17760221|title=Serbia says working with Russia on Kosovo response|publisher=Reuters|date=2008-03-17|accessdate-2008-03-17] Minister for Kosovo Slobodan Samardzic told protesters, "We will protect you just like we protect the Serbs in Serbia."

*RUS called for a resumption of talks on the status of Kosovo, saying the unrest was a result of the territory's unilateral independence declaration.

*flag|UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon condemned the attacks against UN and NATO-led forces following the clashes on March 17 and urged "all communities to exercise calm and restraint."

*BUL's Foreign Ministry issued a statement expressing concern over unrest and calling for Serbs in Kosovo to avoid violence. [cite news|url=http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-03/18/content_7810380.htm|title=Bulgaria voices concerns with developments in northern Kosovo|publisher=Xinhua|date=2008-03-17|accessdate=2008-03-17]

*AUTn Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik called on Serbia and Kosovo Serb leaders to promote calm in the region adding, "The Serbian government has repeatedly vowed to refrain from violence as a political tool. This must also be carried out consistently." [cite news|url=http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5hAcQmYCoEsAhUh5mCYVlCmifRc8Q|title=World powers call for calm after deadly Kosovo clashes|publisher=Agence France Presse|date=2008-03-18|accessdate=2008-03-18]

*BIH Milorad Dodik, the Prime Minister of Republika Srpska said the use of force against Serb protesters in northern Kosovo was “inappropriate whatever the cause for that might be.” [cite news|url=http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/main/news/8700/|title=Bosnia Serb Head Slams Kosovo 'Force'|publisher=Balkan Insight|date=2008-03-18|accessdate=2008-03-18]

References

External links

* [http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1715332,00.html Belgrade Riots - Photo Essays] , "TIME.com", February 21, 2008
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_pictures/7257318.stm In pictures: Belgrade rally] , "BBC News", February 21, 2008


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