Protests broke out in Pristina on Friday, November 3, after a court in neighboring Macedonia the day before convicted 33 ethnic Albanians of plotting attacks and clashing with police in 2015. The demonstration started at approximately 14:00 (local time) at the Zahir Pajaziti Square. According to local media, the protesters are marching to the Macedonian Embassy. Police officers have been deployed to the area to block the march and isolated clashes have been reported near the Hungarian Embassy. Expect localized traffic disruptions near the Macedonian Embassy and in the vicinity of the march route. Avoid the area.
On November 2, the Macedonian Criminal Court in Skopje sentenced seven of the 33 defendants to life in prison, with the remaining men receiving prison terms between 12 to 40 years. All of the defendants are ethnic Albanians from either Kosovo or Macedonia and have denied the charges. The men are accused of conducting attacks against security forces in the town of Kumanovo near the Kosovo border in May 2015, resulting in eight Macedonian security personnel and 14 militants killed, as well as another 40 police officers reported wounded. The defendants' claims that the trial was staged by the Macedonian secret services and called for an independent investigation.
Individuals in Pristina are advised to avoid the area surrounding the march and to stay away from all protests more generally; allow additional time for travel while demonstrations are ongoing.
On a separate note, although direct passage from Serbia to Kosovo is permitted, it is not currently possible to travel from Kosovo directly into Serbia; entry into Serbia is only possible via a third country. If tensions rise in the north, it is advisable to avoid border crossing Gates 1 and 31 (Leposavic and Zubin Potok).
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