Troops and police have restored calm a week after ethnic Albanian rioting began in Yugoslavia's Kosovo province but the death toll rose to 29 as several people died of their wounds.
Tanks prepared for exercises Thursday and riot police patrolled the dusty streets of Kosovo's towns.Athough few incidents were reported Wednesday, details began emerging of the intensity of the fighting on Monday and Tuesday.
The newspaper Vecernji Novosti said in one small town, demonstrators threw grenades and five stranded policemen were rescued by helicopter from the clutches of furious Albanians.
In the provincial capital Pristina, 135 miles south of Belgrade, 3,500 rioters shot at and stoned police in a battle lasting into the night in a dilapidated suburb Monday.
Police replied with tear gas and automatic weapons. Nine rioters were killed. In other towns demonstrators fired from rooftops.
According to the newspaper, eight people died in a hospital Wednesday from wounds suffered in clashes with police earlier in the week during demonstrations against curbs on the autonomy of Kosovo, a poor region bordering Albania.
This brought the toll to 29 but a senior Kosovo doctor who declined to be identified said it was likely to exceed 50 because many people were critically ill with bullet wounds.
Vecernji Novosti said all but two of the dead were protesters and 30 police and 97 demonstrators had been injured in the battles, the worst disturbances in Yugoslavia since 1945.
The cause of the ethnic Albanians' anger is a change to the constitution of Yugoslavia's largest republic, Serbia, of which Kosovo is a province.
It gives Serbia sweeping powers over Kosovo, depriving it of the self-rule it has enjoyed since 1974.
Serbia argues it has been forced to do so to thwart separatists' attempts to break away from Yugoslavia's delicate federation of six republics and to stop persecution of Serbs in Kosovo.
The 1.7 million Albanians in Kosovo outnumber Serbs and they fear the changes will erode their national rights.
Albania, which Yugoslavia accuses of fomenting disaffection in Kosovo, Wednesday described the military presence in the region as brutal oppression.
The Yugoslav government said Wednesday it was setting up a coordinating body to restore order in the region, which is rich in natural resources but underdeveloped.