In April 1987, when Slobodan Milošević—then-chairman of the League of Communists of Serbia—was sent to Kosovo Polje's town hall to calm a crowd of angry Serbs protesting what they considered to be anti-Serb discrimination by the Albanian-dominated administration of Kosovo. When Serb citizens complained they had been beaten by ethnic Albanian police in Kosovo, Milošević told them that "No one has the right to beat you [...] No one will beat you ever." The incident earned Milošević the support of the Serbian people, and propelled him to the presidency of Serbia two years later.
Prior to the 1999 Kosovo War, the town of Kosovo Polje had, according to the figures of the Federal Statistical Office in Belgrade from March 1991, a total population of 35,570 inhabitants, while the ethnic makeup was 56.6% Albanian, 23.7% Serb and 19.6% from other communities.
Kosovo Polje saw considerable violence before, during and after the Kosovo War. In December 1998, Serbian deputy mayor of Kosovo Polje Zvonko Bojanić was executed by members of the Kosovo Liberation Army, despite taking a moderate line on Serb-Albanian relations. At the war's end in June 1999, most of the Albanian population returned while many of the town's Serbs were expelled. The remaining Serb population found themselves in an enclave in an Albanian-dominated region. Thousands of Serbs and Roma from other parts of Kosovo, who had fled their homes, took refuge in Kosovo Polje, where a large refugee camp was established. Ethnic tension flared repeatedly in the years after the war and a number of Serbs were killed by Albanian nationalists. Under this continuing pressure, the Serb population of Kosovo Polje shrank steadily until, by July 2002, the newspaper Blic was reporting that only 550 Serbs remained in Kosovo Polje. The town was seriously affected by the March 2004 unrest in Kosovo, which saw almost all Serb inhabitants expelled and their homes burned down. A number are reported[by whom?] to have returned since then and at least some of the destroyed properties have been rebuilt by UNMIK.