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February 21, 2008

Serbians Break In

This is breaking right now.

Serbian demonstrators opposed to Kosovo's independence stormed the US embassy in Belgrade, a State Department spokesman said Thursday. [...]

The protesters entered the building after business hours and no embassy employees were inside, McCormack said.

CNN shows the building on fire right now. My bad. It appears that some other building is on fire, but CNN says that's not our embassy. A peaceful rally at an Orthodox church service led some portion of the crowd to throw rocks at the embassy and then break in.

The Other Shoe Drops: It took a few days, but the Serbians have gotten around to showing their displeasure with Kosovo's independence and our support for it. Earlier in the day, ex-Serb army reservists attacked a Kosovo-Serbia border checkpoint. Two other border checkpoints have been attacked in the last few days.

Thick black plumes of smoke billowed above the border crossing point of Merdare, in southern Serbia, after the attack by the angry group, who Serbian police said numbered around 300.

The violence was the latest in a series of incidents that followed Sunday's unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia by Kosovo's ethnic Albanian-dominated parliament -- a move vehemently opposed by Belgrade.

After crossing a Serbian checkpoint unhindered, the reservists pelted around 100 Kosovo anti-riot police positioned on the opposite side of the boundary with stones.

The police responded by putting up metal barricades and barbed wire as a helicopter of the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) peacekeeping mission hovered overhead.

10:52am update: Those Kosovar police--really, any police force that deals with rioters--must have the patience of saints. They had rocks thrown at them and they didn't shoot back? Good men.

Back at the embassy: okay, so they've taken down the U.S. flag (I'm surprised it hasn't been burned yet). Now it appears that they are trying to set the place on fire.

11:14am update: Looks like some minor fire damage to the embassy. There are fire trucks parked out front now. What looks to me like Serbian military is in force and have pushed the rioters farther down the street.


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 02:36 PM

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