Serbs demonstrate against Kosovo independence

About one thousand people held a peaceful protest against Kosovo independence in Zurich on Saturday.

This content was published on February 23, 2008 - 17:12

The meeting had been called by pro-Serbia groups, and had been given official permission.

The demonstrators waved Serbian flags and chanted anti-independence slogans, such as "Kosovo is Serbia" and "We shall not give Kosovo away."

A speaker criticised Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey for her support for Kosovo independence, and accused her of having shaken hands with a "war criminal", when she met Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci.

The meeting dispersed peacefully after about two and half hours.

Although pro-Serbia groups had called for similar gatherings in Bern, Aarau and St Gallen, the police said they did not materialise.

The authorities in Geneva have granted permission for a pro-Serbia meeting to be held there on Sunday.

Kosovo declared itself independent on February 17, provoking intense anger in Serbia. A mass demonstration degenerated into violence in Belgrade on Thursday.

The Swiss government amended its advice to travellers to Serbia on Friday, warning them to avoid "demonstrations and large gatherings of any sort".

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