Police in Kosovo have fired teargas and rubber bullets at ethnic Albanians rioting in the divided town of Mitrovica.
The violence broke out when several hundred Albanians protesting over the closure of the town’s main bridge for the past three years by ethnic Serbs began to throw rocks and bottles at Kosovo police.
It has been reported that over 20 people were wounded.
“There was an attempt by a group of protesters to break through the police cordon on the bridge. The police was forced to use all the means at our disposal to control the crowd. They became violent and used hard objects against us and citizens,” explained Kosovo Police spokesperson, Avni Zahiti.
US soldiers, part of a 5,000 strong NATO peace force, guarded the bridge during the clashes.
The bridge has been blocked in an attempt by Serbs to stop ethnic Albanians from extending their authority in northern regions of Kosovo.
Serbia rejects Kosovo’s 2008 secession and backs the Serb minority’s defiance of Pristina’s authorities