Hundreds of Kosovo Serbs rally to get votes in Serbia’s election

by Cristian Florescu

Hundreds of ethnic Serbs in Kosovo have protested to pressure the government into allowing them to vote in neighbouring Serbia’s April 3 general election, writes

Demonstrators gathered on Friday in Mitrovica, 45km (28 miles) north of Pristina, with banners reading “We want our human rights” and “Kurti won’t drive us away from Kosovo”, referring to Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti.

The protesters later marched to a bridge that divides Mitrovica.

Most of Kosovo’s ethnic Serb population lives north of Mitrovica, close to Serbia’s border.

Hundreds of people also protested in Gracanica, a commune located 10km (six miles) from Kosovo’s capital where ethnic Serb residents are concentrated.

Kurti has said Kosovo and Serbia need to have a preliminary agreement on holding the election to permit the voting.

In a letter to the European Union office in Pristina, Kurti wrote that “Serbia’s illegal structures are trying to hold an election in our territory as if our government did not exist,” the KosovaPress news agency reported.

In previous Serbian elections, ethnic Serbs in Kosovo voted there under monitoring by international observers. That did not happen when Serbia held a referendum earlier this year.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, a move recognised by the US and most EU nations. Serbia has refused to recognise Kosovo as a separate nation after 11 years of EU-brokered negotiations.

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