Demonstrations by Serb residents and activists in North Mitrovica over tariffs hikes have been ongoing since Tuesday, November 27, with four mayors in Serb-majority Kosovar municipalities resigning in protest. Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić met with protesters on Thursday, November 29, and advocated for further demonstrations to force officials in Pristina to overturn the tax increase. Although Vučić emphasized the need for peaceful protest, Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj insisted that this round of protests is an attempt by Serbia to reintegrate Kosovar territory. Additionally, students and medical workers have launched associated protests as imports from Serbia have been blocked. Tensions are likely to remain high and protests are expected to continue in the near term or until a resolution to the tariff spat is reached.
Kosovo's government imposed 100 percent trade tariffs on Serbian imports on November 21 after Kosovo lost a bid to join Interpol. This decision, considered as a violation of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA), was condemned by Serbia - who threatened to put an end to all commercial trade - and the EU.
On November 26, the Albanian prime minister offered his support of Kosovo's tariff hikes. Albania is widely expected to support any further Kosovar political or economic measures as tensions escalate between Kosovo, Bosnia, and Serbia.
Individuals located in Kosovo are advised to monitor developments and avoid all protests, and refrain from discussing political topics in public.
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