Report from the Protest against Kosovo Independence

I personally had a chance to observe the events happening in front of the Turkish Embassy before, during, and after the Serbian protest against the independence of Kosovo on 21 February 2008.

I looked out of the window on the fourth floor of a building located across from the embassy the first group of “hooded men” came around 16:30, half an hour before the beginning of the protest. Approximately 500 young people, all wearing hoods, arrived in a crowd with right hands raised to the words Kosovo is part of Serbia. They passed the Turkish Embassy and stopped some ten meters after the building. From this location they threw stones at the embassy, hitting the windows with the blinds down and the heavy iron door. I called Police Director Milorad Veljović on the phone. I talked to his secretary, relaying to her the events that were happening, and asked her to let me speak to the police director. She told me to hold. Five minutes later I learned from the secretary that everything was under control and that joint city police was in charge of maintaining order. I went back to the window. Meanwhile the protest had begun. While Prime Minister and the Serb Radical Party leader made speeches, these young men tore down the flag and coat of arms from the embassy, broke security cameras that were recording the events, and then started breaking into shops. Without any obstruction, they took computer monitors, computers, drinks, and food. Several police vehicles drove down Knez Miloš Street around 19:30 after which utility company trucks arrived to remove bottles, stones, and litter from the street.

Nataša Kandić