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14 Mar, 2008 09:43

UN court seized in Mitrovitsa

Hundreds of Serbs in the town of Mitrovitsa, in Kosovo’s north, have stormed a UN court house and placed the Serb flag above it. The crowd consisted of Serb lawyers, and employees of local law enforcement agencies, who worked at the UN Court house, before

They managed to break through Ukrainian and Polish peacekeepers, who backed off and allowed them to go in.
There have been no reports of injuries and police and UN peacekeepers have not tried to stop protesters.
According to RT's correspondent in the area, the situation is calm at the moment.
Serb leaders and UN representatives are holding negotiations to try and deal with the situation.
The head of the UN mission in Kosovo, Joachim Ruecker, has said that those who turned to violence this morning have crossed the line. He has also said he had instructed the UN police to restore law and order and to ensure that the courthouse remains under UN control.
At the same time NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has arrived to Mitrovitsa, where he’s holding meetings with local leaders and NATO commanders.
The morning action followed daily demonstrations in Mitrovitsa, involving a large part of 40,000 Serbs living in the town.
But until now the demonstrations have been peaceful. The demonstrators wanted to stop the UN judges – Albanian nationals – from working and this is the first day they’ve succeeded.
Another mass demonstration started on Friday at 12:44 – a reference to the UN resolution 1244, that left Kosovo in Serbia's territory.
Serb students are expected to arrive later from Belgrade, but it is still unclear if they’ll be allowed over the border.