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Albanians Protest Removal Of Presevo Monument

Ethnic Albanians protest in the southern Serbian town of Presevo on January 21.
At least 2,000 ethnic Albanians have rallied in the southern Serbian town of Presevo to protest against the removal of a memorial to fallen Albanian guerrillas.

The engraved slab was removed on January 20 by some 200 masked, heavily armed Serbian special police officers.

It bore the names of 27 ethnic Albanian guerrillas killed during a 2000 insurgency in the ethnically mixed Presevo Valley, a spillover of the 1999 Kosovo conflict.

Belgrade said the monument was taken down because it was erected illegally by the local Albanian-dominated council.

Albania and ethnic Albanian-majority Kosovo denounced the move.

There were no incidents during the January 21 protest in Presevo.

Both the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the United Nations have appealed for calm.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and B-92