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Demonstrations bring Pristina to a standstill

Pristina, Thursday - Central Pristina has been brought to a halt today by thousands of demonstrating Albanians. The protesters are demanding the release of an estimated 1,500 Kosovo Albanians still held in prisons in Serbia. ANEM correspondent Nikola Radisic reports that sections of the town have been blocked, with the main street and all shops closed. Since this morning the crowd has only allowed KFOR, UN police and hospital vehicles to enter the streets.

Protest spokesman Shukri Klinaku told media that the protest, which began yesterday morning was not limited in time and would last until the prisoners were released. International police in the province say the demonstration has not been registered and so is illegal. Police representative Jules Maureau warned that the blockade of the central city was obstructing the UN civilian mission in dealing with matters which were already complex enough.

International administration spokesman Jay Carter said today that, despite its illegality, the aims of the protest were supported by all international representatives in Kosovo.

The demonstration today included a group of about three hundred Albanian children carrying pickets and Albanian flags.

Several dozen demonstrators spent last night in the city's central square, which was completely blocked by people lying in the street.

Source: B92

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