Ethnic Serbs Barricade Road in Northern Kosovo

The barricaded road in Kosovo

A road in northern Kosovo has been barricaded by ethnic Serbs, stopping traffic at the two main border crossings into Serbia, according to police.

Trucks, ambulances, and agricultural equipment were deployed as barricades, escalating recent tensions that have included explosives, gunfire, and an armed assault on a police patrol that resulted in the injury of one ethnic Albanian police officer.

Demonstrators told AFP that they were outraged by the arrest of a former police officer of ethnic Serb descent who is suspected of involvement in recent attacks against Kosovo police officers.

According to an AFP journalist, the demonstration was publicized by sounding emergency sirens in multiple locations in northern Kosovo’s Serb-majority region. Local media said that the demonstrators wished to hinder the officer’s transfer to Pristina, the capital city.

Xhelal Svecla, the interior minister of Kosovo, stated that the ex-police officer was one of two suspects arrested in connection with recent attacks on police officers.

Recent tensions flared up after Kosovo scheduled local elections in municipalities with a majority of Serbs for December 18th, which the principal Serb political party announced it would boycott.

Explosions and gunfire were heard as election officials visited two communities in northern Kosovo on Tuesday to prepare for the poll, but no injuries were reported.

Kosovo’s president, Vjosa Osmani, issued a press release shortly after the installation of the barriers announcing that the elections would be postponed until April 23rd.