A tense situation evolved from the Preševo valley on 20 January, when Serbian gendarmerie removed an Albanian monument, reports ECMI Kosovo’s January Newsletter.
The removal of a monument in front of the Municipal Assembly of Preševo city triggered demonstrations in both Pristina and Preševo on 20 January. It was a monument to the Albanian fighters in the UCPMB that the Serbian authorities removed. The removal provoked the anger of the Albanian population.
The UCPMB is the Albanian language acronym for the Liberation Army of Presevo, Medcedja, and Bujanovac.
Damage to Serb memorials and desecration of Orthodox graves
Still according to the ECMI Kosovo January Newsletter, Kosovo police have launched investigations into vandalism, which appears to be in retaliation against Belgrade’s removal of the Albanian monument in the Preševo Valley.
Orthodox tombstones were damaged in a series of incidents in the municipalities of Klokot/Kllokot, Obiliq/Obilić, Vushtrri/Vučitrn, Skenderaj/Srbica and Prizren and memorials situated in Viti/Vitina and Goraždevac/Gorazhdevc were destroyed.
Furthermore, the chapel of the Milloshevë/Miloševo Orthodox graveyard was set on fire. Police and international security forces also prevented a group of protesters from attacking the Gjakovë/Ðakovica monastery.