Thousands of Serbs protest Kosovo independence in Vienna

Other News Materials 24 February 2008 20:02 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - Several thousand Serbs gathered on Vienna's inner city Heldenplatz square on Sunday to protest Kosovo's independence.

The event threatened to get out of hand in the course of the afternoon, with groups of protesters attempting to march towards the US embassy in Vienna, the Austrian press agency said.

Austrian police was watching the situation closely but said the situation was under control.

The rally began peacefully, though emotions ran high as protesters chanted slogans like "Kosovo is the heart and soul of Serbia" or "Kosovo was and will always remain Serbian."

Later, activists burned a US-flag before some tried to make their way to the US embassy some 1.5 kilometres from Heldenplatz.

Local police counted about 5,000 participants, while organizers claimed a turnout twice as high.

Protesters had travelled to the rally from all over Austria. Authorities estimate that about 300,000 persons of Serbian descent live in the country.