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Belgrade's US Embassy set on fire

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080221/ap_on_re_eu/serbia_kosovo_independence Belgrade s US Embassy set on fire By SLOBODAN LEKIC, Associated Press Writer 17
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 21, 2008
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      http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080221/ap_on_re_eu/serbia_kosovo_independence

      Belgrade's US Embassy set on fire
      By SLOBODAN LEKIC, Associated Press Writer
      17 minutes ago

      BELGRADE, Serbia - Serb rioters broke into the U.S.
      Embassy Thursday and set fire to an office after a
      massive protest against Kosovo's independence that
      drew an estimated 150,000 people.

      Masked attackers broke into the building, which has
      been closed this week, and tried to throw furniture
      from an office. A blaze broke out inside one of the
      offices and parts of the facade also caught fire.

      Authorities drove armored jeeps down the street and
      fired tear gas to clear the crowd. The protesters
      dispersed into side streets where they continued
      clashing with authorities.

      The neighboring Croatian Embassy also was attacked by
      the same group of protesters.

      In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean
      McCormack strongly urged the Serbian government to
      protect the U.S. Embassy. He said the U.S. ambassador
      was at his home and was in contact with U.S.
      officials.

      More than a dozen nations have recognized Kosovo's
      declaration of independence on Sunday, including the
      United States, Britain, France and Germany.

      But the declaration by Kosovo's ethnic Albanian
      leadership has been rejected by Serbia's government
      and the ethnic Serbians who populate northern Kosovo.
      Russia, China and numerous other nations have also
      condemned the declaration, saying it sets a precedent
      that separatist groups around the world will seek to
      emulate.

      Kosovo, which is 90 percent ethnic Albanian, has not
      been under Belgrade's control since 1999, when NATO
      launched airstrikes to halt a Serbian crackdown on
      ethnic Albanian separatists. A U.N. mission has
      governed Kosovo since, with more than 16,000 NATO
      troops and KFOR, a multiethnic force, policing the
      province.

      But Serbia — and Kosovo's Serbs, who make up less than
      10 percent of Kosovo's population — refuse to give up
      Kosovo, a territory considered the ancient cradle of
      Serbs' state and religion.

      Earlier Thursday, police estimated that about 150,000
      people had attended a rally in the Serbian capital.
      The crowd waved Serbian flags and carried signs
      reading "Stop USA terror." One group set fire to a
      red-and-black Albanian flag.
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