UN Forces Withdraw From Kosovo Town

100 hurt in battle to retake courthouse
By Lucas Laursen,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2008 9:55 AM CDT
A U.N. vehicle burns during clashes in the Serb-dominated part of the ethnically divided town of Kosovska Mitrovica, Kosovo, Monday, March 17, 2008.   (AP Photo/Zveki)
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(Newser) – UN police trying to retake a courthouse were forced to withdraw from the Kosovo city of Mitrovica after clashes with ethnic Serbs, reports the BBC. NATO troops were left in charge of security after the worst violence since Kosovo declared independence; AFP reported at least 100 police and protesters were injured in struggles that included rocks, tear gas, and at least one grenade blast.

Observers described the situation as calming. Violence began this morning when UN police arrested 53 Serbian protesters who were among those who had seized the courthouse Friday. Of those, up to 20 escaped when protesters attacked the UN convoy carrying them, witnesses reported. The Serb protesters had sought to establish their own court.