Serbia prosecutors seeking rioters behind US Embassy attack

[JURIST] Serbia's chief prosecutor Slobodan Radovanovic said Saturday that Serbia is actively searching for the rioters that set fire to the US Embassy in Belgrade [JURIST report] last week over US support of independence for Kosovo [JURIST news archive]. Serbian police said they have already arrested over 200 rioters and are in the process of collecting evidence and filing charges. The Serbian government condemned the attacks on diplomatic missions as isolated acts of vandalism. Many Serbians blame the United States for their support of Kosovo's independence, and nationalist politicians in Serbia say they will not rest until Kosovo is back under Serbian control. The UN Security Council has condemned the attack [press release], while the European Union has cautioned that continued violence will threaten future relations [UK Times report] between the EU and Serbia.

Serbian demonstrators set fire to the US Embassy in Belgrade [official website] on Thursday after a massive street demonstration that drew an estimated 150,000 people to protest Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence [text; JURIST report] last week. The United States has formally recognized Kosovo as a sovereign state [JURIST report], despite strong opposition from both the Serbian government and minority Kosovo Serbs. Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire, but an Embassy spokesperson said that a burned body, apparently a protester, was discovered inside the building. Demonstrators also attacked the nearby Croatian Embassy and pelted the Canadian Embassy [official website] across the street with rocks. Canada has not yet announced its decision on recognition. The New York Times has more.

 

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