Thursday, April 12, 2007

Vetevendosje Strikes Again

1230 CET:  Reports are coming in that the Vetevendosje group is attacking UN vehicles downtown.  They are spray-painting vehicles, stopping them in traffic or parked along the roads.  The one vehicle that I saw a couple minutes ago had "Vrasj�s" (Killer/Murderer in Albanian) stenciled neatly on the sides and hood. There must have been a clearance sale on spray paint somewhere in Kosovo because the cars aren't the only UN property to suffer.  In the past couple of days members of the group have been actively defacing the blast barrier outside Mission HQ with the phrase "Free Albin Kurti" and "Vrasj�s" and some vehicles. 

Yesterday, the activists spray painted the wall three times, four times the day before...I guess they basically waited until the paint dried and went out with fresh cans of paint during the day. The total damage in Vetevendosje's campaign was eight UN vehicles, a UN bus, and again several paintings of the blast barrier. 

The UN has hit one of its lowest ratings in popularity in Kosovo.  A survey has put approval of the UN at just 24%, just one percent higher than after the 2004 riots that left 19 people dead.  The reason for the low approval is that many locals (Albanian and Serbian) blame the UN for the political and economic limbo they have faced since 1999.  And even with the assurances for minorities in Ahtisaari's proposal, 10% of Serbs interviewed said they would leave if Kosovo became independent and another 30% had not yet decided if they would stay or go.

Other interesting Kosovo news includes a shoot-out between unknown males and KPS near the Albanian border in Decani.  KPS supposedly came under fire from two males who fled towards Albania after the officers returned fire.  There was also a large explosion in Suvareka near a restaurant that destroyed the doors and windows.  It is not yet know what kind of device was used.

Last night for our weekly Wednesday dinner, we decided to head north towards Obilic for dinner at Hotel Amazona (044 454 454).  Located on the Pristina-Mitro highway about one km after the second turn-off to Obilic (Kastriot/Besiane), Amazona has a beautiful outside seating area with a park setting (complete with fountains!)  The outside setting will be great when the weather is good (the indoor is clean and nice too but it is nothing special).  The food is good with the normal selection of steaks, trout, and traditional salads.  The traditional Albanian bread is a great treat but make sure that you order early as it takes some time for it to be prepared so order one up as you are deciding on what to eat/drink.  Try to ask for the garlic/butter sauce for the fish when you order too...we got our after everyone had already eaten most of their fish :o)