Kosovo’s Deputy Prime Minister Enver Hoxhaj said on Wednesday that Serbia’s police did not allow pictures with Kosovo’s and the Albanian flags to be brought in for the “Mirëdita, dobar dan” (good day in English) festival held in Belgrade, describing it as “a shameful” act.
He tweeted Serbia’s government asking it to stop “the abuse of Kosovo citizens” announcing the reciprocal measures.
“Shameful pictures at the border with Serbia where the authorities mistreat Kosovo’s artists on their way to Belgrade,” Hoxhaj wrote.
He asked how was it possible to talk about the normalisation (of relations) when Serbia blocked the artists to take part in an exhibition.
Pristina’s media published photos showing Serbia’s police officers in detailed control of a bus taking Kosovo’s artists for the “Mirëdita, dobar dan” festival.
The media reported that the photos where either Kosovo’s or Albania’s flags were seen were banned as well as an artist painting with the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) name on it.
The KLA was an insurgent group in Kosovo during the 1998-1999 war there that fought against Belgrade police and military forces. Belgrade considered it a terrorist organisation.
The “Mirëdita, dobar dan” festival has been held in Belgrade since 2014 and this year is planned from Wednesday to Friday in the organisation of the Youth Initiative for Human Rights.
The festival’s website says “the festival seeks to establish the tradition of cooperation through arts, which will contribute to the permanent normalisation of relations between Belgrade and Pristina.”
Serbia’s Interior Ministry has banned the Serb ultra-nationalists’ party rally in a protest, but they said the would go on as planned.