Thousands of ethnic Albanians have lit candles and laid flowers in the centre of Pristina in memory of Kosovo’s president Ibrahim Rugova who has died of lung cancer.Five days of mourning have been declared for the 61-year-old who led his people for nearly two decades in a struggle for separation from Serbia.
“It couldn’t be a worse time. He’s left us when we need him most, but what can we do,” said one resident. Another said: “He was a man of peace and freedom, but he was unlucky and did not live to see an independent Kosovo. Let’s hope our politicians will follow his path.” Another resident said: “It’s so sad, and the only thing I could do tonight was come here and light a candle for his spirit. He meant so much to us.”
President Rugova is due to be buried on Wednesday in Pristina.Before then, mourners will get the chance to pay their last respects at the parliament’s headquarters.The assembly is also set to hold a commemorative session later today.