Near three city halls in northern Kosovo, NATO peacekeepers set up security lines on Monday to contain Serbs protesting the new mayors.
How informs Reuters, in the city of Leposavici, located near the Serbian border, American peacekeepers, in equipment to counter riots, installed barbed wire around the city hall. They also blocked the town hall in Zubin Potok.
In Zvecan, Kosovo police, staffed exclusively by ethnic Albanians, fired tear gas at Serbs who broke through the barricade and tried to get to the city hall.
Serbs consider Belgrade their capital, even more than two decades after Kosovo’s independence in 2008. Ethnic Albanians make up over 90% of Kosovo’s population, but Kosovo Serbs in the north are demanding the implementation of a 2013 agreement to create an association of autonomous municipalities on their territory.
Serbs are demanding the removal of Albanian mayors and allowing local administrations to return to duty. On Friday, clashes erupted in several municipalities in northern Kosovo as police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse Serbian protesters.
On Sunday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg urged the Kosovo government to ease tensions with Serbia. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Friday brought the country’s army to full combat readiness and ordered its units to approach the border with Kosovo.
NATO peacekeepers have been deployed to Kosovo since the Alliance’s 1999 bombing campaign, which drove Serbian military and security police out of Kosovo.