Demonstrations against curfew in divided Kosovo Town

PRISTINA, Jul 13, 2000 -- (AFP) Some 150 Serbs held a night-time protest Wednesday against barricades set up by peacekeepers trying to enforce a curfew in the ethnically divided Kosovo town of Kosovska Mitrovica, a KFOR spokesman said.

At around 1:30 a.m. (2330 GMT Tuesday) a large group of Serbs gathered for a noisy protest directed at French soldiers of the NATO-led KFOR multinational peacekeeping force, according to Lieutenant Meriadec Raffray.

The protest erupted as a system of mobile barricades was used for the first time to control access to the "confidence zone" a tense area of the northern, Serb-dominated part of the town, the officer said.

Under a long standing curfew, people from outside the zone -- which borders an Albanian enclave on the north side of the town and a bridge leading to the southern Albanian-dominated quarter -- are not allowed to enter it between midnight and 5:00 a.m.

The barricades were erected last night to make it easier to enforce this rule, Raffray said.

The crowd were very angry, the officer said, but eventually dispersed without violence after the intervention of a senior member of the Mitrovica branch of the Serbian National Council, a body representing Serbian interests in Kosovo.

Mitrovica, which is 20 kilometers (13 miles) north of the provincial capital Pristina, has frequently been the scene of violent clashes between Serbians and Kosovo Albanians.

Original article