Serbian police raid ethnic Albanian headquarters in Kosovo

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia (AP) — In a warning to separatists, Serb police raided the headquarters of Kosovo’s largest ethnic Albanian party Thursday, moments after their self-styled parliament swore in a president.
Fighting was reported for the first time, meanwhile, in a strategic area south of Kosovo’s capital, Pristina, where a two-hour gunbattle raged between Serb security forces and Albanian militants, Serb sources said.
Police seized documents at the office of the Democratic League of Kosovo, moments after the province’s self-proclaimed parliament — meeting for the first time — swore in party leader Ibrahim Rugova as president. There were no arrests during the half-hour operation.
The Serb police said in a statement that the raid “prevented an attempt to constitute the so-called parliament of the Republic of Kosovo,” whose members were elected March 22 in an unauthorized ballot. It said the local prosecutor was considering filing criminal charges.
Still, the fact that police did not enter the building until after Rugova was sworn in and the 20-minute session was over suggested the government was not seriously attempting to muzzle Rugova, considered the Albanian politician most capable of conducting future peace talks with the Yugoslav government.
Rugova has called for an independent Kosovo, which the Americans and Europeans oppose. Instead, they support autonomy for Kosovo, a province of Serbia where Albanians make up 90 percent of the population.