While hardline Serbs in north Kosovo plan protests to show their rejection of the independence celebrated troughout Kosovo’s Albanian areas on Tuesday, in Serb enclaves and mixed areas in the south, such as Gracanica and Gjilan/Gnjilane, the mood is sombre and bitter.
Serbs in Gracanica and Gjilan/Gnjilane started the day normally, opening up their shops and businesses. Unlike in most of Kosovo, there are no red-and-black Albanian flags or blue and gold Kosovo flags anywhere, and no sign of planned festivities. The Serb minority does not recognise the secession and still consider themselves part of Serbia.
Momcilo, 64, from Gjilan/Gnjilane, opened his stall at 8:30 am in the separated Serbian market in the mixed city in eastern Kosovo. He says that for him February 17 is just like any other day, while he expects that fewer Albanian consumers will approach his paprika.
“I don’t care about this so called independence. We have no money. I am only waiting to sell these products”, Momcilo told Balkan Insight.
Local authorities and the KFOR peacekeeping force are on alert for any trouble but so far the situation in
the south appears calm.