Thursday, August 24, 2006

Serbian Schoolteacher Beat in Multiethnic Community

A Serbian schoolteacher was severely beaten by two Albanians in broad daylight yesterday.  Vuko Danilovic was escorting 30 children for OSCE's multiethnic community program in Decani when he was approached by two Albanians in the main square after buying ice-cream for the children.  The first man allegedly began cussing at Danilovic and started striking him.  The second soon joined in and beat Danilovic to the ground in an apparent ethnically-motivated attack.  Danilovic and the schoolchildren were taking part in an OSCE program aimed at bridging the gap between Albanians and Serbs who live in secluded enclaves.  After the attack, the schoolchildren, out of fear for their safety, and Danilovic, for medical treatment, were taken to Montenegro.  Danilovic is reported to have suffered severe bodily harm and is now deaf in one ear.
In other news, Albin Kurti and 64 members of the "Self-Determination" group were arrested yesterday after barring entry to the Assembly Building in protest against the UN Special Envoy Marttii Ahtisaari's visit to Pristina to meet with Albanian leaders.  Ahtisaari is visiting with leaders ahead of the next round of talks in the hopes that some progress can be made after repeated failures in talks on decentralization, minority rights, and protection of religious/cultural heritage.