Serbs Rally as Leader Denounces Embassy Attack

Associated Press
Saturday, February 23, 2008

KOSOVSKA MITROVICA, Kosovo, Feb. 22 -- Serbs protested against Kosovo's independence for a fifth straight day Friday, attacking U.N. police guarding a key bridge in the province's north with stones, glass bottles and firecrackers.

The United States and the European Union demanded that the Serbian government protect foreign embassies and their staff in the capital, Belgrade, a day after protesters set fire to the U.S. compound there. The Serb protesters were venting their anger over U.S. recognition of Kosovo's declaration of independence.

Serbian President Boris Tadic called an emergency meeting of the national security council and said the rioting that occurred in the capital must "never happen again."

"I most sharply condemn the violence, looting and arson," Tadic said in a statement. "There is no excuse for the violence."

In Serb-dominated northern Kosovo, demonstrators waved Serbian flags and chanted "Kosovo is ours!" Police tried to keep protesters off the Kosovska Mitrovica bridge over the Ibar River.

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