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Melbourne greets Kosovo independence with protests, celebrations

Posted Mon Feb 18, 2008 10:22pm AEDT
Updated Tue Feb 19, 2008 8:45am AEDT

Members of Melbourne's Albanian community gathered at the Croatian Community Centre in West Sunshine

Members of Melbourne's Albanian community gathered at the Croatian Community Centre in West Sunshine, to celebrate the declaration. (ABC News: Alicia Byrne)

Hundreds of Serbians have demonstrated outside the United States consulate in Melbourne against Kosovo's declaration of independence.

Up to 30 police officers and consulate security staff guarded the building, as the protestors let off two flares.

A window of a police vehicle was smashed as several bottles were thrown.

No one was injured and there were no arrests.

Meanwhile, up to 2,000 members of Melbourne's Albanian community have gathered at the Croatian Community Centre in West Sunshine, to celebrate the declaration.

In addition to the speeches, they are enjoying traditional dance and music.

Cezar Jakupi from the Albanian-Australian Community Association says he is waiting to hear from Canberra.

"We're waiting for some correspondence from the Prime Minister's office," he said.

"We're extremely delighted to hear that the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister have said that they believe that independence is a good thing."

He says it is a great moment.

"We're delighted that Australia will, I presume, follow the lead of the western European countries and of course the United States in recognising Kosovo's independence hopefully very quickly," he said.

Tags: government-and-politics, foreign-affairs, world-politics, vic, melbourne-3000, sunshine-3020, kosovo, serbia

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