Serb Rioters Set U.S. Embassy on Fire

Serb Rioters Set US Embassy on Fire The U.S. embassy in Belgrade burns after masked attackers broke into the building and set an office on fire at the end of a massive protest against Western-backed Kosovo independence, in the Serbian capital, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2008. More than 150,000 Serbs gathered at the rally vowing to retake the territory which is viewed as Serbia's religious and national heartland. (AP Photo) The U.S. embassy in Belgrade, Serbia has been set on fire by rioters.

Serb rioters broke into the U.S. Embassy Thursday and set fire to an office after a large protest against Kosovo’s independence that drew an estimated 150,000 people. Masked attackers broke into the building, which has been closed this week, and tried to throw furniture from an office. A blaze broke out but firefighters swiftly put out the flames.

Authorities drove armored jeeps down the street and fired tear gas to clear the crowd. The protesters dispersed into side streets where they continued clashing with authorities.

The neighboring Croatian Embassy also was attacked by the same group of protesters.

The U.S. is the most obvious target of blame for this, so perhaps this response isn’t surprising. It appears that the Serb government is taking reasonable steps to contain the violence, although better crowd control is clearly in order.

It’s worth pointing out, perhaps, that this is a case of (mostly) Christian protesters rioting against unpopular actions taken by (mostly) Muslim politicians. Powerless people sometimes vent their frustration in violent, criminal ways, unfortunately.

FILED UNDER: Europe, General,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. […] James Joyner of Outside the Beltway goes the full “root-causes” route and apologizes for the people […]

  2. grampagravy says:

    Christians rioting??? Dear me, what would Jesus say?

  3. Triumph says:

    The U.S. embassy in Belgrade, Serbia has been set on fire by rioters.

    This is exactly why we need a President McCain: “Bomb, bomb, bomb bomb. Bomb, bomb Belgrade.”

  4. markm says:

    “It’s worth pointing out, perhaps, that this is a case of (mostly) Christian protesters rioting against unpopular actions taken by (mostly) Muslim politicians.”

    I think it’s more “Kosovo is Serbian land given to Albanians by force” and secondly what you said.