Last night Serb rioters broke into and set fire to an office of U.S. Embassy in Serbia. This incident came right after a large demonstration against Kosovo’s declaration of independence in the center of Belgrade. After the rally a group of them headed of and set fire to an office Thursday. Reports say that it took Serbian police 30-45 minutes to respond to this situation.
For several days, Kosovo’s Serbs have shown their anger by destroying U.N. and NATO property, setting off small bombs and staging noisy rallies.
On Thursday, the neighboring Croatian Embassy also was targeted by the same group of protesters at the U.S. Embassy, and smaller groups attacked police posts outside the Turkish and British embassies in another part of the city but were beaten back.
Elite police paramilitaries drove armored jeeps down the street outside the U.S. Embassy and fired dozens of tear gas canisters to clear crowds. The protesters fled into side streets where they continued clashing with the police.
Groups also broke into a McDonald’s restaurant and demolished the interior. A number of other shops were also ransacked and people were seen carrying off running shoes, track suits and other sporting goods from a department store.
Doctors at Belgrade’s emergency clinic reported treating more than 30 injured, half of whom were policemen. All were lightly injured, said Dusan Jovanovic, deputy chief of the clinic, adding that most of the injured protesters were “extremely drunk.”
The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Zalmay Khalilzad, said he was “outraged” by the attack and would ask the U.N. Security Council to issue a unanimous statement “expressing the council’s outrage, condemning the attack, and also reminding the Serb government of its responsibility to protect diplomatic facilities.”
Serbia’s President Boris Tadic, on an official visit to Romania, appealed for calm and urged the protesters to stop the attacks and move away from the streets. Tadic said that violence was “damaging” Serbia’s efforts to defend Kosovo, which declared its independence from Belgrade on Sunday.
Note: Quotes from different sources.