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Yugoslavia: Thousands Of Ethnic Albanians March To Mitrovica

Pristina, 21 February 2000 (RFE/RL) - An estimated 10,000 ethnic Albanian protesters left Kosovo's provincial capital of Pristina this morning on a march to the divided northern city of Mitrovica. The demonstrators -- waving Albanian, U.S., NATO, and UN flags -- are protesting an escalation of ethnic violence in Mitrovica. Meanwhile, KFOR peacekeepers are vowing to push ahead with an operation to find weapons and gunmen on both sides of Mitrovica. A KFOR spokesman (Philip Anido) said the searches will continue despite an attack by Serbs yesterday on U.S. and German troops.

A crowd of about 500 Serbs threw rocks and bottles as the soldiers searched homes and factories in the Serb-dominated northern part of the city. The U.S. troops were later withdrawn to prevent an escalation. KFOR rejected Serbian accusations that the Americans had been too aggressive. NATO said its searches in northern Mitrovica had uncovered a number of military guns as well as stores of ammunition and explosives. No weapons were found on the city's mostly ethnic Albanian south side.