World Bulletin / News Desk
Sunday's local elections in Kosovo was marred by violence which broke out in the ethnically mixed region of Mitrovica. Masked men stormed a polling station while people were voting, setting off tear-gas canisters and smashing ballot boxes.
The attack forced three polling stations in the region to close early, out of fear for the safety of staff.
The elections are seen as many ethnic Serbs as controversial, as they participate in Kosovo's electoral process for the first time, having previously boycotted elections.
An electoral candidate for Mitrovica, Krstimir Pantic, was quoted by the BBC saying, "They started smashing ballot boxes, throwing ballot papers around, insulting members of the election commission, and one older woman was seriously injured because one of the attackers hit her with a chair.
"We heard that another woman had also been injured, her leg was broken, and this shows the bestiality and arrogance of the attackers."
Minorty Serbs in the largely ethnic Albanian Kosovo have refused to recognize the legitimacy of the state, which declared its independence from Serbia in 2008. Both the Kosovo authorities and Serbia has called on ethnic Serbs to take part in the electoral process, but ethnic Serbs fear this would symbolize their recognition of the state.
Despite this, a BBC correspondent in Mitrovica said the only people going in and out appeared to be ethnic Albanians.
Before 3:00 p.m. only 7.09 percent of registered voters had been to the ballot boxes in Mitrovica.
Last Mod: 04 Kasım 2013, 13:49