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Kosovo police in riot gear deploy to disperse a crowd of hundreds of stone-throwing protestors who demanded removal of a blockade of flower pots on a bridge linking ethnic Albanians and Serbs in the ethnically divided town of Mitrovica on Sunday, June 22, 2014. Police said at least seven officers were injured as some 5 cars set ablaze as ethnic Albanian protested ethnic Serbs barricading the Serb run north from the ethnic Albanian south. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)
Kosovo police disperse protesters in tense north
First Published Jun 22 2014 04:17 pm • Last Updated Jun 22 2014 04:17 pm

Mitrovica, Kosovo • Kosovo police fired tear gas and used batons to disperse hundreds of ethnic Albanians angry because minority Serbs reinforced a barricade separating parts of central Mitrovica.

At least seven police officers were injured and five cars set ablaze by protesters.

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NATO armored vehicles staked out a downtown bridge. The alliance leads a 5,000-strong peacekeeping force in Kosovo.

Lt. Col. John Cogbill of Richmond, Virginia, who is in the U.S. contingent, said peacekeepers were called up Sunday to support police efforts to contain the crowd.

This week, Serbs used trucks and bulldozers to remove mounds of earth used to block ethnic Albanians from crossing the bridge and placed large flower pots instead.

Serbia rejects Kosovo’s 2008 secession and backs the Serb minority’s defiance of Pristina authorities. Most Kosovars are ethnic Albanians.

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