Kosovo Serbs clash with NATO; six people hurt

French KFOR soldiers guard the border crossing at Brnjak, September 16, 2011

From Reuters:  Six Kosovo Serbs were injured in a shootout between protesters and NATO peacekeepers at a disputed border crossing, local authorities and health officials said on Tuesday.

Eyewitnesses said troops from the NATO peacekeeping force (KFOR) fired teargas and rubber bullets to disperse a crowd rallying against the removal of a Serb-held barricade from the Jarinje border post linking Kosovo’s north with Serbia.

From Reuters:   "All the wounded were transferred to the hospital," said Branko Ninic, the mayor of the nearby town of Leposavic. "We are urging people to remain calm. This situation is very dangerous."

A NATO spokesman in Pristina said troops fired rubber bullets in self defence.

Milan Jakovljevic, the head of the hospital in the Serb, northern part of Mitrovica, a tense city divided into Albanian and Serb districts, said the six wounded men had gunshot wounds and not injuries caused by rubber bullets.

In northern Mitrovica, angry Serbs damaged two police vehicles. NATO and police brought reinforcements to the southern, Albanian part of the city, a Reuters eyewitness said. . . .

The clashes came as negotiators from Serbia and Kosovo were to meet in Brussels under EU auspices to try to mend daily ties such as flow of people and goods, property rights and personal documents. . . .

Earlier on Tuesday, KFOR troops used bulldozers to remove the roadblock near the Jarinje border post and briefly detained five local Serbs.  (photo: Getty)

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