NATO peacekeeping soldiers have formed security cordons around four town halls in Kosovo to keep back Serbs protesting against ethnic Albanian mayors taking office in a Serb-majority area after elections they boycotted.
In Zvecan, one of the towns in north Kosovo, state police sprayed pepper gas to repel a crowd of Serbs who broke through a security barricade on Monday and tried to force their way into the municipality building, witnesses said.
In Leposavic, close to the border with Serbia, US peacekeeping troops in anti-riot gear placed barbed wire around the municipality building to protect it from hundreds of angry Serbs gathering nearby.
“This morning, the NATO-led KFOR mission has increased its presence in four municipalities of northern Kosovo following the latest developments in the area,” a statement by KFOR, or Kosovo Force, said.
It added; “In line with its mandate, KFOR is ready to take all necessary actions to ensure a safe environment in a neutral and impartial manner.”
The peacekeepers also acted to protect the town halls in Zubin Potok and North Mitrovica from possible threats.
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