Two police officials and a demonstrator were shot and killed Monday as the worst violence Yugoslavia has seen in eight years swept through the southern province of Kosovo.
It was the fifth straight day of rioting by ethnic Albanians who object to government moves to curb the province’s autonomy. They stoned police and property in at least nine towns, including the area’s capital, Pristina, 150 miles south of Belgrade.
The Kosovo Interior Ministry banned walking in groups of more than three people and shut schools, the university, cinemas, theaters and markets.
A total ban on movement will be imposed in certain places at certain times, it said without elaborating. Yugoslav radio reported that the national government has ordered a curfew.
Demonstrators opened fire in the town of Podujevo, 12 miles north of Pristina, killing local Police Chief Jetulah Kuchi, 39, an ethnic Albanian, and wounding a second policeman, a police technician and two civilians.
Another police officer and a demonstrator were shot to death in riots at the nearby mining town of Titova Mitrovica.
In the suburbs of Pristina, police opened fire with automatic weapons to warn off rioters as helicopters dropped tear gas.
Some rioters in Pristina charged police with a bulldozer.
Tear gas swirled in the streets as rocks and other objects rained down from all directions on helmeted police in many towns. Buses, cars and shop windows were stoned.
It was the worst violence since ethnic Albanian riots in 1981, when at least nine people died and hundreds were injured in a monthlong rampage.
The disturbances were triggered last Thursday when Kosovo’s Parliament adopted constitutional changes giving Serbia--the largest of six Yugoslav republics--control of Kosovo’s police, courts, civil defense and official appointments.
Serbia, of which Kosovo is an part, will also have a free hand to reduce the province’s autonomy further.