22 dead and 500 hurt in racial violence


In the Serbian capital, Belgrade, several policemen were injured in clashes with demonstrators who protested at anti-Serbian violence in Kosovo, Interior Minister Dragan Jocic said.

Demonstrators shouted “We’ll go to Kosovo” and “Serbia rise up”.

The violence erupted after three ethnic Albanian children drowned in the River Ibar as they fled Serbs in the divided town of Mitrovica. Eight Albanians and two Serbs were killed there and authorities imposed a curfew.

The UN has started an investigation.

Hundreds of NATO troops, UN peacekeepers and police officers used rubber bullets and teargas to keep the two sides apart near the bridge in Mitrovica that divides the southern Albanian part of the town from the mainly Serb north.

In the central Kosovo town of Lipljan, four Serbs were killed. Three others died in the eastern town of Gnjilane. Belgrade’s Beta news agency said a Serb also died in the southwest of the province.

Beta said ethnic Albanians were torching the homes of Serbs, who were being evacuated by KFOR.