Serbs Storm UN's Kosovo Courthouse

Angry crowd clashes with UN police, occupies buildings in divided town
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 15, 2008 8:11 AM CDT
Kosovo Serbs under the banner reading 'Kosovo is Serbia' during a protest against the independence of Kosovo in the Serbian part of the ethnically divided town of Kosovska Mitrovica.    (AP Photo/Srdjan Ilic)
camera-icon View 4 more images

(Newser) – Hundreds of Serbs smashed down gates at two United Nations-run courthouses in northern Kosovo yesterday and stormed the buildings, AFP reports. The mob, opposed to Kosovo's independence, hauled down the UN flag and hoisted the Serbian one. They clashed with UN police, pelting them with rocks and metal objects. NATO's secretary-general condemned the violence as an unacceptable provocation.

The Serb militants said they wanted to set up their own court for Kosovo's Serbs. The chief of the UN's Kosovo mission said police had been ordered "to restore law and order" and "ensure that the court house is again under UN control," while Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leaders urged the UN to "pull the hooligans out of the building." The court buildings have been a focus for Serb protests since Kosovo declared independence last month.