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21 Feb, 2008 17:07

Serbian protests: analysts' comments

Thousands of people have been rioting in the Serbian capital Belgrade in protest against Kosovo’s independence. The embassy buildings of the U.S., Turkey and Croatia have been attacked. Analysts give their views on the situation, its possible consequences

Irina Kobrinskaya from the Institute of World Economy and International Relations believes that even though the protests were organised by the government, the attacks were not planned. Thousands of those among the protesters came from Kosovo several years ago.  

“This is a very difficult situation for the police and for the government, because I can hardly imagine the situation when just after the election, just after the declaration of independence by Kosovo, the government may license the police to beat the people, to use force against their own people. I think the police and the crowd are in the same boat. For the government it could be very dangerous for their image in the country,” she said. 

Professor Andrey Zagorsky from Moscow State University of International Relations says the government was not prepared for such developments. He says Serbia has failed its duty to protect foreign embassies.

“The question is, to what extent it will be able to protect the embassies under such conditions. This is something that was not envisaged by the Serbian government,” he said.

“Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica, who was calling for the rally, has obviously failed to lead the protest in a way he was planning to in a peaceful way. If there are political victims of these events, they're most likely to include the Prime Minister,” he said.

Boris Shmelyov from the Centre of Political Research believes that the American embassy was attacked because “the citizens of Belgrade think that the U.S. is to blame for the proclamation of the declaration of independence by Kosovo”.

“They attacked the U.S. embassy because the U.S. is now an enemy for them,” he said.

However, Zdravko Chumbrik, a Serb living in Moscow, says he doesn't agree with what's going on in Belgrade.