EUROPE

Belgium's Crown Prince Marries

BRUSSELS--Belgium's Crown Prince Philippe and Mathilde d'Udekem d'Acoz were married yesterday before many leading members of Europe's royalty.

The couple celebrated with a lunch at the Royal Palace in Brussels attended by 750 guests, including Britain's Prince Charles, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Monaco's Prince Albert and Spain's Queen Sofia.

Meanwhile, hundreds of well-wishers camped outside the palace hours after the 4 1/2-hour wedding service in the hope of a final glimpse of the royal couple leaving for a reception at the Chateau de Laeken, the 18th century castle north of Brussels where they will live.

Yeltsin Fires Moscow Police Chief

MOSCOW--In another sign of escalating political tensions, President Boris Yeltsin fired Moscow's police chief, Nikolai Kulikov, who was also a deputy federal interior minister.

Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov vowed to resist the move, which he said was groundless. The firing came as part of an intense struggle between the Kremlin and Luzhkov.

After a series of recent terrorist bombings here, Kremlin aides have tried to shift some of the blame for lax security to Luzhkov, who is running for reelection as mayor and also heads a parliamentary election bloc. Luzhkov said yesterday that the firing of Kulikov was illegal because he, as the mayor, must give his consent. "We won't retreat," he vowed.

Czech Leaders Refuse Calls to Step Down

PRAGUE--The Czech Republic's prime minister and Parliament speaker shrugged off one of the largest protests since the fall of Communism 10 years ago, saying they would not heed demands to resign.

Premier Milos Zeman told the Mlada Fronta daily that, "no demonstration, however large," can change the fact that the country's government was freely elected.

An estimated 50,000 people gathered in Prague on Friday to support a declaration calling on Zeman and Parliament Speaker Vaclav Klaus to resign. The declaration was drawn up by some of the same people who in 1989 headed the protests that toppled Communism.

The protesters criticized the economic malaise that is threatening to slow Czech entry into the European Union, as well as a treaty between Klaus's and Zeman's parties--an alliance between old rivals that dismayed many stalwarts on both sides.

Stampede at Snowboarding Event Kills 5

VIENNA--A stampede of spectators at a snowboarding event led to five deaths and 25 injuries after a barrier gave way and dozens of people were trampled, police and local media said.

The Austria Press Agency cited police in Innsbruck, capital of the western province of Tyrol, as saying the deaths and injuries resulted from a stampede of spectators from the city's Bergisel Stadium after a barrier collapsed.

Four people were pronounced dead on the scene and a fifth died en route to a hospital. Senior police official Ferdinand Knapp said six of those who were hurt were seriously injured.

ASIA

Soldiers Shoot 12 Protesters in Aceh

SIGLI, Indonesia--Indonesian soldiers shot and wounded at least 12 demonstrators waving rebel flags in restive Aceh province, less than a day after President Abdurrahman Wahid warned that "repressive actions" would be used to keep Indonesia from falling apart.

The violence broke out after thousands of people ignored warnings from the army and raised red, white and black flags to mark the 23rd anniversary of the province's Islamic-based independence movement.

Usman Ibrahim, a village chief, said he saw troops fire warning shots above the heads of the protesters and then shoot directly into them.

Wahid, hailed as a democratic reformer when he came to power in October, has called for negotiations with rebel chiefs, but is under increasing pressure from military hard-liners to act tough as separatism grows.

THE AMERICAS

Dissidents Stage Peaceful Protest in Cuba

HAVANA--About 30 opponents of President Fidel Castro's Communist government staged a peaceful and highly unusual protest march through a Havana suburb to demand freedom for political prisoners in Cuba.

The demonstrators, all members of Cuba's small dissident groups, gathered after morning Mass on the steps of Parraga's Roman Catholic church before marching about six blocks to another church.

Unlike other recent opposition gatherings, there was no chanting of slogans or waving of banners. Although Cuba's penal code outlaws opposition groups and unauthorized public gatherings, government officials monitoring the event did not intervene.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"Everyone in Juarez knows the police work for the drug traffickers and that they kidnap and kill people. But government authorities haven't done anything about it."

--Alfredo Quijano, an editor for the Ciudad Juarez edition of the Monterrey daily newspaper El Norte

--Page A41.