At least five ethnic Serbian civilians and two NATO soldiers were wounded today when NATO forces moved against protesters who had set up a roadblock in northern Kosovo. NATO started with tear gas and rubber bullets, and eventually resorted to live rounds against the protesters, who responded with pistol fire.
The roadblocks issue has been going on since last fall, when the Kosovo government banned all trade with neighboring Serbia and sent NATO troops to the border to ensure that ethnic Serbs were no longer able to ship goods out of the nation. The Serbs responded with roadblocks along the supply routes in protest, and have rebuilt as fast as NATO could destroy them.
This has apparently convinced NATO that instead of simply removing the roadblocks, they also have to attack any protests they see, and officials insisted that today’s attack was “in self-defense,” adding that they “have the authority to use deadly force on anyone who throws a stone.”
Kosovar Serbs have overwhelmingly rejected the NATO-backed regime, and have sought to rejoin Serbia. NATO has insisted that they will never allow this, and that Kosovo, which they carved out of Serbia in an invasion, would retain its “territorial integrity” irrespective of popular opinion.