Anti-Smuggling Action Unleashed Clashes in Northern Kosovo
Police crackdown on smuggled goods has provoked clashes in northern Serbia, which is populated mainly by Serbs.
The police used tear gas against demonstrators who were angry at the action directed to District in Northern Mitrovica and burned police officers in Zverchan.
At least six police officers were injured, a dozen citizens sought medical help, and eight were detained.
Two of the dozen injured Serbs remain in hospital: one was wounded by a bullet and is in the intensive care unit, and the other has chest injuries.
During the day, about 200 Serbs blocked the Pristina-Raska highway with cars and trucks.
Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti said the police actions, which led to the Serbs protesting in Northern Kosovo, were aimed at smuggling goods into Pristina, Pec and northern Mitrovica.
Crime and criminal groups will not be tolerated. There will be a battle against them. We will fight and prevent smuggling, Kurti said.
And Serbian Prime Minister Ana Bernabic called on NATO and KFOR to react immediately and "tame Kurti".
The situation is more than dramatic, and this is the last moment in which a strong reaction is needed to curb the delusional policies pursued by Pristina. Such behavior will bring us to the brink of chaos, Bernabic said.
Incidents of violence in northern Kosovo must be stopped immediately, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell called.
Unilateral and uncoordinated actions that threaten stability are unacceptable. All outstanding issues must be resolved through dialogue and EU mediation. We are in contact with Belgrade and Pristina, Borel said.
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