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Participants in rally in supports of Kosovo Serbs try to break through police cordons — TV

Currently, according to RTS, situation calmed down, rally continues

BELGRADE, December 18. /TASS/. Protesters at the administrative line with Kosovo and Metohija tries to break through police cordons but were stopped by Serbian law enforcement officers, Serbia’s RTS television channel reported on Sunday.

According to the television channel, a rally in support of ethnic Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija started near the Jarinje checkpoint on the administrative border between Kosovo and Metohija, and central Serbia at 01:00 p.m. local time (03:00 p.m. Moscow time). Several hundred people marched to the checkpoint from the Serbian side. The KFOR (a NATO-led international peacekeeping force in Kosovo) mission reinforced the checkpoint with barbed wire from Kosovo’s side. The protesters burnt a plate with the Brussels Agreements sign and demanded the Serbs arrested in Kosovo and Metohija be released. At some point, the protesters broke through the cordon but were stopped by the police some 50 meters of the division line.

Currently, according to RTS, the situation has calmed down. The Serbian police are deployed at the approaches to the checkpoint while KFOR forces are controlling the Jarinje checkpoint. The rally continues.

The situation in Kosovo was aggravated dramatically on December 6, when the Kosovo police along with EULEX (European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo) patrols began to seize premises housing electoral commissions in northern Kosovo and Metohija. Local Serbs repelled the Kosovars, who fled across the Ibar River. Two days later, on December 8, around 350 Kosovo policemen in armored cars intruded into the Serb-inhabited northern Kosovo and blocked the northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica. On December 10, the Kosovo police detained Dejan Pantic, a former Serbian policeman, on dubious charges. In response, the Serb population erected barricades along a highway in several locations and took to the streets in protest.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on December 15 that the country’s government had decided to send a request to the NATO mission to redeploy Serbian troops and police to Kosovo and Metohija in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 1244.