A day after 30 alliance-led peacekeeping soldiers and more than 50 ethnic Serbian protesters were injured in clashes in Kosovo, Nato announced it will send 700 additional troops to attempt to quell the violence.
As the situation remained volatile on Monday, NATO peacekeepers in riot gear secured a town hall in the town of Zvecan.
Aleksandar Vui, the president of Serbia, had previously placed the army on the highest level of combat alert, and on Tuesday, Moscow accused the west of “blaming” Serbs it claimed had been “driven to despair”
Monday, the NATO-led Kosovo Force (Kfor) prevented a group of ethnic Serbian protesters from entering the area. The protesters boycotted last month’s elections in at least three northern towns in the area where they are a majority, allowing ethnic Albanians to take control of local councils despite a turnout of less than 3.5% of voters – a move that prompted the United States and its allies to reprimand Kosovo’s leaders on Friday.
Numerous Serbs are requesting the withdrawal of Kosovo police forces and ethnic Albanian mayors whom they do not consider to be their genuine representatives.
After Serbian protesters attempted to force their way into the Zvecan municipal building, but were repelled by teargas launched by Kosovo police, tensions escalated.
Initially attempting to separate protesters from police, Kfor soldiers began to disperse the gathering with shields and batons later on. In response, protesters threw pebbles, bottles, and molotov cocktails at the soldiers.