Police Thursday began arresting organizers of ethnic Albanian unrest in Yugoslavia’s turbulent Kosovo Province, and the official news agency Tanjug said that former Kosovo party chief Azem Vlasi was among those held.
The arrests followed widespread protests against planned constitutional changes that ethnic Albanians fear will limit their autonomy in the southern province, bordering Albania.
Tanjug said that Vlasi, one of the most popular Communist Party leaders among ethnic Albanians in the province, was arrested along with two directors of a mine whose workers’ strike helped set off the wave of protests.
The eight-day strike led the Yugoslav State Presidency to clamp a partial state of emergency on the province. Troops and tanks were deployed in Kosovo for the first time since ethnic Albanian riots in 1981.