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Serbian protesters storm U.S. embassy in Belgrade
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08:26, February 22, 2008

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· An Eye on Kosovo
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The U.S. embassy in Serbia was stormed by protesters on Thursday during a mass rally against the unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo, the local B92 TV station reported.

Protesters broke into the U.S. embassy, smashed doors and windows, and set it on fire. They also attacked the nearby Croatian embassy. Riot police dispersed the crowds by firing tear gas and driving armored jeeps down the street.

Tens of thousands of people from all over Serbia gathered Thursday afternoon in Belgrade for a mass rally against Kosovo independence. Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica, leader of the largest opposition party in the Parliament Tomislav Nikolic, and celebrities from all walks of life addressed the rally.

Protesters throw torches at riot police near the U.S. embassy in Belgrade Feb. 21, 2008. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

The violence was the latest in a series of incidents in the wake of Sunday's unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo.

Several hundred former Serbian army reservists attacked on Thursday Kosovo police with stones and burning tires at the Merdare crossing on Kosovo and Serbia border in protest of the independence of the Serbia's southern province.

Kosovo Serb protesters destroyed on Thursday two UN customs checkpoints and several vehicles on the border between Kosovo and central Serbia.

Protesters attacked on Sunday the U.S. and Slovenian embassies in Belgrade, inflicting property destructions of the two embassies.

Kosovo, the breakaway province of Serbia, has been under the UN administration since 1999.

The ethnic Albanian-dominated Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence from Serbia on Feb. 17. Belgrade has said the proclamation is null and void.


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