Riots in Serbia; US Embassy set ablaze

Riots in Belgrade

Following a peaceful protest of over 150,000 citizens in Belgrade, Serbia – protesting the recent independence of Kosovo, a former southern region of Serbia – violence broke out at several Western embassies in Serbia including the United Kingdom’s and the United States’. Fires burned for over a half hour, and firemen later found a charred body inside of the US embassy, though it is not believed to be a US citizen. Although UN Security Council and US State Department officials have condemned the attacks, protests and violence are expected to continue throughout Serbia; the Serbian government in Belgrade is refusing to acknowledge Kosovo’s independence:

Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica delivered an impassioned speech condemning the territory’s secession. “As long as we live, Kosovo is Serbia. Kosovo belongs to the Serbian people,” he told the flag-waving crowd.

Why the violence? Kosovo is largely regarded as the religious “heart” of Serbia, and thusly, Serbians want to keep the southern territory a part of the country. However, Kosovo is primarily an ethnically Albanian province, which has caused an incredible amount of tension between the national government in Belgrade, and the people of Kosovo. In 1999, Slobodan Milosevic – then, the president of Yugoslavia – led attacks in Kosovo in an effort to ethnically cleanse the region of the Muslim Albanians; over 10,000 people were killed. Since Milosevic’s actions, Kosovo has been under the protection of 16,000 NATO peacekeeping troops, and drawing support from the United Nations to declare its independence. Last year, negotiations were attempted between the national government of Serbia and Kosovo region, ultimately leading to a perpetual standstill, with neither side willing to budge. As international deadlines passed for the two parties to reach an agreement, Kosovo’s independence was practically inevitable.

With Russia currently supporting the Serbian government in Belgrade by refusing to acknowledge Kosovo’s independence (and threatening the use of force to resolve the issue), and Kosovo garnering support from the European Union and United States, a firm resolution to the conflict is nowhere in sight.

US Embassy in Belgrade attacked – [BBC News]

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One Response

  1. That country is so messed up…it should be like 5 different countries

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