Belgrade police and demonstrators scuffle outside US embassy

Politics Materials 17 February 2008 23:21 (UTC +04:00)
Belgrade police and demonstrators scuffle outside US embassy

( dpa ) - At least one police officer and several other people were injured Sunday when a scuffle broke out between police and demonstrators protesting Kosovo's independence outside the US embassy in Belgrade, reports said.

Hundreds of demonstrators clashed with police guarding the United States embassy in the broader downtown area. Some demonstrators hid behind dustbins they had had dragged into the street and then threw stones and bottles at police.

Police in full riot gear intervened when the crowd comprising mainly of football fans, started throwing bottles, stones and flares at the embassy building, breaking at least one window.

The demonstrators eventually retreated, but it was unclear whether they would target the embassies of those countries prepared to recognize Kosovo - almost all of the Western world.

Demonstrators held aloft banners reading "Kosovo is Serbia", "We won't give up Kosovo," and chanted the name of the Serb general Ratko Mladic who is wanted for war crimes.

Protests in Belgrade and in other cities followed Kosovo's declaration of independence, which was endorsed by Washington and who is expected to quickly recognize Kosovo diplomatically.

Demonstrations in other places including one by war veterans in the no-man's land between Serbia and Kosovo ended without incidents.

Serbia vehemently opposes the secession, but has ruled out a military reaction to the move by Kosovo, which has been a United Nations and NATO protectorate since 1999.