Serbs Plan to Resist NATO Attempt to Tear Down Kosovo Barricades

Posted October 17th, 2011 at 4:30 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

NATO peacekeepers in Kosovo are now giving ethnic Serbs until Tuesday to take down roadblocks near northern border crossings or they say the troops will do it themselves.

Commander Erhard Drews originally had given the Serbs a Monday deadline, but extended it 24 hours.

The barricades are stopping NATO convoys from getting through to supply the peacekeepers. Drews is demanding unconditional and permanent access to the border. He says NATO's mission in Kosovo is preserving freedom of movement for people and communities. He said NATO will carry out its mandate.

But local ethnic Serbs say they plan to peacefully stand their ground and resist any NATO attempt to dismantle the barriers. They say they will defend their country and their children's future.

Ethnic Serbs in northern Kosovo refuse to recognize Kosovo's independence from Serbia or the authority of the ethnic-Albanian government. They are blocking the border crossing to stop the flow of goods and services.

An attempt by Kosovo police to take down the barricade in July erupted in violence, resulting in the death of an ethnic-Albanian police officer. Several other people were wounded.