US embassy in Belgrade set on fire amid Kosovo protests

Other News Materials 21 February 2008 23:00 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - Serbian hooligans set the United States embassy in Belgrade ablaze Thursday on the margins of a massive rally against Kosovo's independence.

Groups of hundreds of people had split from the rally and entered, defaced and set on fire the embassy building in the downtown area. Firefighters were dousing the blaze on the ground and possibly on the first floor.

Police intervened late, firing teargas and driving the crowd away only after they had inflicted the damage. The nearby Croatian embassy was also defaced and ransacked, while the Turkish and Bosnian embassies were pelted with stones.

Some 200,000 people gathered in Belgrade following calls by the ruling and opposition parties to protest Kosovo's independence, declared on Sunday, and its Western support.