Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Anti-UN Protesters In Kosovo Clash With Police; 4 Injured

PRISTINA (AP)--Activists painting anti-U.N. slogans in Kosovo clashed with police Wednesday, slightly injuring four officers, officials said.

The fight was triggered when police moved in to arrest one of the demonstrators in the tense northern town of Kosovska Mitrovica, police spokesman Larry Miller said.

Three people were detained before being released, Miller said.

But Albin Kurti, the leader of the protest group, said two of its members were arrested and beaten inside the police station before being released.

The protesters were from a group calling itself "Self-Determination," which has staged regular protests to demand that the U.N. leave Kosovo and painted slogans opposing the upcoming talks on Kosovo's future.

The group was painting the slogans on U.N. offices in the town, which has been divided for more than six years between an ethnic Albanian south and a Serb-dominated north.

Kosovo has been administered by the U.N. since a 1999 NATO air war halted the Serb offensive.

The ethnic Albanian majority wants independence, while Serbs living in Kosovo demand that it remain part of Serbia. Talks to discuss Kosovo's future are expected to begin next week in the Austrian capital, Vienna. [ 18-01-06 1451GMT ]

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