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22 Feb, 2008 09:12

Serbs push through Kosovo border

Several groups of protesters, who took part in the mass rally in the Serbian capital Belgrade on Thursday, have crossed the border with Kosovo and are now heading to Kosovo's Mitrovica in a show of support to the Serbian minority living there. Hundreds of

Meanwhile on Thursday, one person was killed and around 150 injured, including journalists and policemen, in a night of violence in the Serbian capital.

This came as hundreds of thousands of people held a peaceful rally to protest against Kosovo's independence.
U.S. blames Russia
The former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Richard Holbrook, has said Russia was one of the forces behind the violent clashes in Belgrade.
Russia's Foreign Ministry spokesman said Holbrook's statement blamed the wrong country and that the countries which had pushed for Kosovo's independence hadn't foreseen its consequences.

For his part, Russia's ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin called the accusation “an attempt to make Russia responsible for the spontaneous rallies of the Serbian people”.
At the same time, the U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack has said there's no indication Russia had been behind the violence.
Russia's stance

Dmitry Rogozin also warned that after Kosovo's move, the Albanians could now initiate the secession of new territories in the Balkans.
“Kosovo is just the first step. As soon as Kosovo acquires some formal elements of independence, similar processes will begin in the Albanian territories in Montenegro and Macedonia,” said Rogozin.
“Those who vote for Kosovo's independence and recklessly follow the U.S. today will tomorrow face the secession of territories as Serbia is doing now,” he added.

Thursday's rally
On Thursday night U.S., Croatian, British and Turkish embassies came under attack.

One person was killed and around 150 injured.
Many foreign journalists were targeted. With anger aimed at Western powers who supported Kosovo’s self proclaimed independence, any camera was perceived as a foreign intrusion. 
Russia Today’s camera crew were split up by police cordons arriving on the scene amid a hail of stones.
Riot police were barely in control. All they knew was they had to restore order on the streets of Belgrade. With the help of tear gas and armoured vehicles they managed it.