DECANI, Kosovo January 6 2012
(Reuters) – Kosovo Albanian protesters hurled stones at an armored motorcade carrying Serbian President Boris Tadic Friday as he marked Orthodox Christmas in the former Serbian province, where Serb-Albanian tensions have resurfaced.
Kosovo’s population is 90 percent ethnic Albanian, and it became the last state to emerge from the remains of federal Yugoslavia when it declared independence from Serbia in 2008.
Serbia rejects the secession, and tensions have been rising since July last year when Kosovo’s government tried to stamp its authority on a largely lawless slice of north Kosovo inhabited by minority Serbs.
A crowd of some 200 Kosovo Albanians in the western town of Decani lobbed stones at Tadic’s convoy, which was escorted by officers of the European Union’s police and justice mission in Kosovo.
Kosovo police secured the route, jostling with protesters to keep them back from the road. The convoy managed to enter the grounds of the Decani Orthodox monastery, where Tadic will mark Serbian Orthodox Christmas.
“A number of stones were thrown, a number of cars received minor damage. President Boris Tadic’s car was not hit,” said Nicholas Hawton, spokesman for the EU mission, EULEX.
Tadic traditionally visits the 14th century marble monastery in Decani to mark Serbian Orthodox Christmas on January 7.