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World - Europe

Greeks angered by NATO strikes clash with riot police

Toronto braces for Friday night protests

March 26, 1999
Web posted at: 5:56 p.m. EST (2256 GMT)


In this story:

'Clinton, fascist murderer'

Toronto police vow to get tough

Protests in Skopje, Banja Luka, Nicosia

RELATED STORIES, SITES icon



ATHENS, Greece (CNN) -- Thousands of Greek protesters angered by NATO airstrikes on Yugoslavia clashed with riot police in front of the U.S. embassy in Athens on Friday.

Meanwhile, authorities in Toronto were bracing for another round of anti-American protests Friday night, a day after angry Canadian Serbs set fire to the U.S. consulate.

Protests against the U.S.-led NATO bombing campaign were also reported Friday in Macedonia, Cyprus and in the Serb-controlled portion of Bosnia, where a British diplomatic outpost was destroyed by fire.

'Clinton, fascist murderer'

In Athens, about 10,000 demonstrators marched through the center of the city to the heavily fortified U.S. embassy. The march was organized by leftist parties and youth groups.

Protesters tossed stones and eggs at the building, burned American flags and lit fires in the streets. The crowd shouted "Clinton, fascist murderer" and "Down with imperialism" as they gave Nazi-style salutes.

A contingent of about 200 riot police moved in, driving back demonstrators with water hoses and tear gas. Police said no one was hurt, though an ambulance was seen moving toward the area where the clashes took place.

In the northern city of Thessaloniki, where the United States has a consulate, about 2,000 protesters threw paint and coins at the building but dispersed at the end of their march.

U.S. Ambassador Nicholas Burns asked Greek Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis to beef up security around the two U.S. diplomatic facilities.

Toronto police vow to get tough

In Toronto, home to Canada's largest population of people of Serbian descent, members of the local Serb community have vowed to protest every night in front of the U.S. consulate as long as the NATO airstrikes continue.

Those protests turned violent Thursday night when two Molotov cocktails were hurled at the building. One ignited the outside and the other crashed through a window, damaging furniture inside. Two police officers were hospitalized, and six demonstrators were arrested.

Police warned Serbian community leaders on Friday that they would take a get-tough policy against future demonstrations.

"They have the right to express their opinion, but if anyone crosses the line, they will be charged and arrested immediately," said Constable Devine Kealey.

Protests in Skopje, Banja Luka, Nicosia

In Skopje, the capital of Macedonia, about 200 protesters marched through the streets Friday, denouncing the NATO attacks. They tried to reach the U.S. embassy but were turned back by local police. It was the second straight day of demonstrations in the city.

In Banja Luka, the capital of Bosnia's Serb Republic, a staff member at a U.S. diplomatic mission was injured Thursday after angry demonstrators smashed windows and damaged vehicles. U.S. personnel had already been withdrawn from the building before the attack.

On Friday, a British diplomatic outpost was destroyed by fire, and an office of the U.N. World Food Program was "extensively damaged," according to a U.N. official. Both facilities had been evacuated, and there were no injuries reported.

In Nicosia, Cyprus, about 600 Cypriots and Yugoslavs blew whistles and burned the American flag outside the U.S. embassy in a demonstration that remained peaceful.

There is a sizable Yugoslav community in Cyprus, and many Greek Cypriots are sympathetic to the Serbs, who share their Christian Orthodox faith.

Reporter John Psaropoulos and Reuters contributed to this report.


RELATED STORIES:
NATO halts second night of airstrikes
March 26, 1999
U.S.: Milosevic won't budge
March 25, 1999
U.S.-Russia relations wounded by NATO airstrikes
March 25, 1999
Pentagon: Day 2 of NATO strikes will be severe
March 25, 1999
Belgrade independent radio moves to Net
March 26, 1999
Russia, China demand end to NATO bombings
March 25, 1999

RELATED SITES:
Greek Ministry of Public Order
U.S. Embassy in Nikosia, Cyprus
U.S. Embassy in Ottawa, Canada
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia - Facts
NATO Official Homepage
United Nations Home Page
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