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PROTEST AFTER SERBIA REMOVES MEMORIAL

 
PRESEVO, Serbia - Thousands of ethnic Albanians have protested in Serbia against the removal of a memorial to fallen fighters, and dozens of Serb graves in neighbouring Kosovo have been damaged in apparent retaliation.
The monument in the town of Presevo was removed on Sunday by 200 masked Serbian police officers backed by armoured personnel carriers.
It bore the names of 27 ethnic Albanian fighters killed during the 2000 conflict in the Presevo Valley, a spillover from the 1999 war in Kosovo, Serbia's former province.
Authorities in Kosovo said on Monday about 60 gravestones had been demolished at Serb cemeteries in the western town of Prizren and eastern village of Klokot.
  • Police stepped up security around Serb Orthodox cemeteries.
  • Police said shots were fired at a memorial to Serbs killed during the 1998-99 war in the western enclave of Gorazdevac and that a monument to second world war communist fighters had been destroyed in the eastern town of Vitina.
  • In Presevo, a Reuters cameraman saw about 2,000 protesters waving Albanian flags and banners reading "Stop discrimination" and "Europe, open your eyes". Presevo is one of Serbia's poorest regions bordering Kosovo and Macedonia.
  • Albania and Kosovo, which has an ethnic-Albanian majority, condemned the decision to remove the memorial, erected by the ethnic Albanian-dominated local council.
  • Serbia, a candidate to join the European Union, said it would not be "humiliated".

Source: Al Jazeera...More...
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