Protest Over Kosovo Ban On Serbian-registered Cars

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Protest over Kosovo ban on Serbian-registered cars

Hundreds of ethnic Serbs on Monday blocked roads in Kosovo's north leading to its only two border crossings with Serbia to protest at Pristina's ban on entry of cars with Serbian registration plates

Jarinje, Kosovo, Sept 20 (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 20th Sep, 2021 ) :Hundreds of ethnic Serbs on Monday blocked roads in Kosovo's north leading to its only two border crossings with Serbia to protest at Pristina's ban on entry of cars with Serbian registration plates.

The row erupted over Kosovo's use of plates with RKS (Republic of Kosovo) on them, which implies its status as an independent nation, something bitterly disputed by Serbia.

Serbia refuses to allow cars with RKS plates, demanding that they take temporary plates on arrival, so Pristina says its ban is just a reciprocal measure.

The protesters used trucks and cars to completely shut down traffic on the roads towards the Jarinje and Brnjak crossings, according to an AFP journalist.

The Kosovo government on Sunday dispatched armoured vehicles and a special police unit to the mainly ethnic-Serb area to monitor the implementation of the ban.

"Pristina demonstrates force and nothing else," one of about 500 protesters who gathered close to the Jarinje crossing told AFP.

The police "will have to leave, if not, it won't be good, they have nothing to do in the north", said the protester who requested to remain anonymous.

So far, vehicles with Serbian registration plates have been entering Kosovo freely.

"It was not our wish but imposed by the other party," Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti told the lawmakers Monday.

Drivers entering Kosovo from Serbia with Serbian registration plates will have to take temporary ones as long as the same applies to Kosovo nationals with RKS plates entering Serbia, he said.

Goran Rakic, the only Serb minister in the Kosovo government, joined the protesters on Monday and called on Pristina to "quit provocations".

He said Serbs expected Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic to "react and help us, as he has always done so far".

Serbian media reported that Vucic had called a meeting of security officials for Tuesday.

Kosovo proclaimed independence from Serbia in 2008 a decade after the war between Belgrade forces and ethnic Albanian guerillas.

Serbia and Kosovo Serbs still do not recognise the move.

Kosovo and Serbia are conducting EU-sponsored talks on normalisation of ties for a decade.