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Serbia remembers pogroms 20 years ago in Kosovo

Serbia remembers pogroms 20 years ago in Kosovo

Deaths and destruction in violence against Serbian population

BELGRADE, 17 marzo 2024, 15:44

Redazione ANSA



Serbia today remembers the pogroms of 20 years ago against the Serb population in Kosovo, a vicious wave of violence and destruction that resulted in casualties, injuries and thousands of refugees, in what Belgrade continues to this day to denounce as a clear and lucid plan of ethnic cleansing against Serbs. President Aleksandar Vucic did so, receiving a group of Serbian students from Kosovo today, to whom he told them that the violence and abuse against Serbs still continues today with the same determination and cruelty.
    "Dear young people, you come from all parts of Kosovo, our Serbia, welcome to another part of our Serbia. Thank you for being here with us today in Belgrade, today on the 20th anniversary of the terrible pogroms against the Serbian population, pogroms that are still continuing today with the same conviction and cruelty. Even the methods are not much different, and with the same staunch support as those who bombed us in 1999," Vucic said speaking to the Kosovo Serb youth. The reference is to the NATO raids decided in the spring of 1999 against Serbia, which ended the Kosovo War. The anniversary of the beginning of those bombings will be commemorated next week.
    "You must know that this is your only country, you must know that you have only one capital city, which is Belgrade, and I hope you will be able to see, admire and love other parts of your homeland, Serbia," the president added. Igniting tempers on March 17, 2004, was the tragic death of three ethnic Albanian Kosovar boys who drowned in the Ibar River.
    According to local Albanian media at the time, the three had been chased and threatened by Serbian peers and basically forced, in order to escape the violence, to jump into the river where they later met their deaths.This version was always strongly rejected by Belgrade, which called it an artfully mounted pretext to justify the hatred and anti-Serb fury unleashed later.Within a couple of days a thousand Serb homes were indiscriminately attacked and set on fire, 35 Orthodox churches and monasteries were destroyed, and everything with a Serb connotation was torn down.The dead totaled some 20 on both sides, over 4,000 Serbs were forced to leave their places of origin, with ethnic cleansing affecting some 15 large and small localities.On the 20th anniversary of these dramatic events, commemorative events and ceremonies are being planned throughout Serbia and among the Serb population of Kosovo.President Vucic will attend an official ceremony in the evening at the National Theater in Belgrade.


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