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24 Feb, 2008 04:25

Kosovo protests go international

Protests over Kosovo's independence are continuing in the ethnically divided town of Mitrovica in the north of the disputed region. But today the Serbs of Mitrovica no longer feel alone: Romanian, Greek, Spanish, South African and Russian flags wave along

This time the demonstrators added a new shade to their protest effort. A large delegation arrived from France to give their support. And, of course, the Russians lent their voice.

As many as 2,000 demonstrators marched through the northern Kosovo town. For the Serbs here who're feeling more and more isolated following last week's declaration of independence, this show of international support from countries who're on their side is vital.

“Russians all over the country are praying for you. Russia’s population is grieving because of what has been done to you. This is an injustice,” one of the supporters said to Serbian protesters.

The locals thanked them, vowing to continue with their struggle for Kosovo to remain part of Serbia.

UN riot police formed a cordon to stop the demonstrators reaching the Albanian side of the city, but the protest remained peaceful despite the fact that tensions are running high.

In a week of protests in Kosovo there's been no real violence. The first victim of Thursday’s riots in Belgrade has been identified as a 21-year-old Kosovo Serb. There are concerns he could be hailed as a martyr, fuelling further unrest.

Protests in Greece

Around 1,500 people gathered in the Greek capital Athens on Saturday demanding that the government does not recognise Kosovo's independence.

The demonstrators marched to the EU offices on Central Avenue with a large banner reading “Rejection of U.S. and NATO.”

They then moved on to the U.S. embassy.

The protest was organised by the Communist Party of Greece and its youth organisation.