[JURIST] Hundreds of Serbs took control of a UN courthouse in the northern Kosovo city of Mitrovica Friday in an apparent protest against Kosovo's recent declaration of independence [text; JURIST report] from Serbia. The group initially demanded a deal with UN authorities, but it was not immediately clear what the details of those demands were. The regional UN representative held talks with Serb leaders over the situation but those broke off during the night. Joachim Ruecker [official profile], head of the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) [official website], said in a statement [press release]:
Those who turned to violence in North Mitrovica have crossed one of UNMIKs red lines. This is completely unacceptable. I have instructed UNMIK Police to restore law and order in the North and to ensure that the Court House is again under UN control.Kosovo Serbs had been holding daily protests in front of the courthouse since Kosovo declared its independence last month. Serbs consider the territory of Kosovo to be Serbia's historic and religious heartland and the Serbian government in Belgrade has insisted that Kosovo's declaration of independence is illegal under international law. AP has more.