Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ethnic Albanians announce protest over monument

PREŠEVO -- Ethnic Albanians from southern Serbia will hold a protest over the removal of a monument in the town of Preševo on Monday.
Members of the Serbian police (MUP) Gendarmerie unit removed the monument honoring members of the so-called Liberation Army of Preševo, Medveđa, and Bujanovac (UCPMB) in downtown Preševo on Sunday morning.
Albanian political leaders from Bujanovac and Preševo told a press conference in the Preševo municipal assembly that the protest would be held at noon on Monday.

The only ethnic Albanian MP in the Serbian parliament Riza Halimi said that Serbia continued to solve issues with force instead of dialogue.

“Joint position of all political leaders is to persist in the achievement of legitimate individual and collective rights of Albanians in the Preševo Valley,” Halimi noted.

The press conference was also attended by Preševo Mayor Ragmi Mustafa, Bujanovac Mayor Nagip Arifi and Preševo assembly Speaker Skender Destani.

Destani said that the Serbian government had shown that it “does not want Albanians in the Preševo Valley”.

He said that the ethnic Albanians in the south would request, with the help of the international community, to have the same rights as Serbs in northern Kosovo.

Mustafa and Arifi spoke Albanian even though there were no translators.

Ethnic Albanians laid flowers and lit candles at the place where the memorial once stood.

All ethnic Albanian parties will hold emergency sessions today to discuss further steps.

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