MITROVICA, NORTHERN KOSOVO: AFTER THREE YEARS THE BARRICADE ON THE ‘AUSTERLITZ’ BRIDGE HAS BEEN REMOVED
Decision of the Mitrovica people: a garden instead
KFOR will continue to contribute to security on Austerlitz bridge
During last night, a barricade removal operation, supported by the people of Mitrovica North, was carried out in without incident in a peaceful manner. Early in the afternoon the old obstacle has been replaced by a garden.
KFOR and the Carabinieri MSU units were present on the bridge, as usual.
During the entire operation they were ready to intervene and adapt KFOR posture in any event. During the morning additional KFOR troops were sent into the area to reinforce and to monitor the situation in order to avoid any kind of incidents due to the large crowd that had gathered from North and South out of curiosity. A Quick Reaction Force was deployed in the vicinity ready to intervene.
KFOR welcomes the decision of removing the physical barricade on the Austerlitz Bridge. The creation of a garden does impede freedom of movement by vehicles but there are alternative routes and bridges in Mitrovica as has been the case in the past.
The meaning and the desire to keep the bridge still closed to vehicles with a garden is highly symbolic and politically motivated.
This is a positive step forward that could support the reconciliation and KFOR will work hard in order to support the dialogue and democratic discussion for the stabilization of Kosovo.