More than 200 police took down a memorial to ethnic Albanian guerrillas in Serbia yesterday, trying to end a row that has highlighted tension in the region.

Security forces cordoned off the main square in the southern, mainly Albanian, town of Presevo, and hauled away the memorial bearing the names of 27 guerrillas who died during an insurgency in the region in 2001.

Ethnic Albanians regarded the guerrillas as heroes. Serbia says they were terrorists.

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The operation, after weeks of threats and counter-threats between Serbian government officials and local Albanians, highlighted how fragile the situation remains in the south, which borders Serbia's former Kosovo province.