I overheard someone mention that a protest march organized by Vetëvendosje! was to take place in Pristina early one December morning so I decided I’d have a look. I ended up walking to the local university as that was where it was to begin and people started showing up around 8 am I think. It was quite cold but the people came out in droves nevertheless. I walked through the crowd as it began to self organize into a column and I could see leaders speaking to the people but since I don’t speak Albanian I have no idea what they were saying.
I worked my way to one side and backed away a bit so as to not become part of the crowd and watched the group form a column and head toward the pedestrian area in downtown Pristina. Although the group was yelling slogans I believe it was peaceful and seemed to be quite well organized.
They entered the pedestrian zone and occupied the entire thing from side to side with me following on side streets and popping in to monitor their progress. The crowd eventually made their way to approximately the area in front of the National Theater where a stage was setup. The crowd gathered around the stage and extended down the entire walkway back to where it originates in front of a hotel at the opposite end from the Theater. People listened intently to whatever was being said by speakers on stage and chanted something periodically. There were also, small groups that began to form along the way engaged in their own conversations, perhaps political, perhaps not, I’m not sure.
I wasn’t actually a part of the protest and I’m not sure what they were protesting against so I asked a local friend of mine. She said they were concerned about corruption and the people felt they lacked representation in government. I suppose that’s a concern many people have in all countries but there was quite a turnout for this group here in Pristina. It is a relatively new government and not quite an independent country yet so I suppose it will experience problems as it matures. It was interesting to witness and watch the people try to express themselves in a somewhat democratic process
I do still watch periodically to see how things develop in Kosovo as having lived there it is quite interesting to watch a fledgling country develop.