Serbian Violence Raises Security Concerns

Serbia needs to step up security. That's what American and European officials are saying after protestors there set fire to the U.S. Embassy and attacked the German and British missions on Thursday night.

BILL WOLFF (Announcer): From NPR News in New York, this is THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT.

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ALISON STEWART, host:

Live from the NPR studios at Bryant Park in mid-town Manhattan, this is THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT from NPR News. News, information, precipitation. I'm Alison Stewart.

RACHEL MARTIN, host:

Hey, I'm Rachel Martin dressed in my snow boots.

It is Friday, February 28th, 2008. We did. We woke and it was like Christmas morning.

STEWART: It is not the 28th.

MARTIN: Wait, is that what I said?

STEWART: Yes.

MARTIN: The 20…

STEWART: Looks like I lost it

MARTIN: Twenty-second. You're right, it's February 22nd and we are lost in a space-time continuum rip. It's the snow. It's gone to our heads.

STEWART: Yeah. It's so funny we haven't - people out in Utah are just making fun of us because they have had a ton of snow, but we really haven't had a really strong winter and woke up this morning to a winter wonderland.

MARTIN: Yeah, it's pretty. It would be pretty for about 45 more seconds and then it will be black and slushy and gross. But we're all toasty in here.

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MARTIN: Everybody's got their coffee and their beagles and their morning snacks…

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MARTIN: …and anchored down, ready to do this.

STEWART: All right. We have a jam packed hour coming up. We're going to chat with a guy - I don't know if you've heard about this kid. His name is Jake Sasseville. Some of the greatest last name I've ever heard.

MARTIN: He's very sassy.

STEWART: Sasseville. He is determined to be the next big late night talk show host and he's actually making a little bit of progress. He's 22 years old. Stopped by our studios and pulled out the charm shall we say. We'll talk to Jake Sasseville about his unique bid to go late night TV.

MARTIN: I'm interested in this.

STEWART: He's actually on already. He had, like, a game plan.

MARTIN: He's set up to…

STEWART: A big game plan.

MARTIN: Interesting. Okay, also, we're going to wrap up last night's Democratic debate for you - came from Austin, Texas. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton squared off. We're going to run that down. Also the weekly wrap up on Iraq. It's a segment we call The Week in Iraq. And, of course, Friday - that means a rundown of movie releases with our guy Daniel Holloway. I'm going to walk you through today's headlines in just a minute. But first, here is the BPP's big story.

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STEWART: Serbia has to step up security, that's what American and European officials are saying after protestors in the Serbian capital of Belgrade set fire to the U.S. embassy there yesterday. The German and British missions also came under attack.

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MARTIN: Serbs were protesting against foreign governments that express support for Kosovo's vote to be an independent country. The burnt body of one of the protestors was found inside the U.S. compound but no foreign diplomats were hurt in the violence.

STEWART: Rioters did not make it to the secure parts of the U.S. embassy.

State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack held the Serbian government responsible for the violence.

Mr. SEAN McCORMACK (U.S. Assistant Secretary of State): Serbia's leaders bear a special responsibility in this regard to not condone or in any way tolerate members of their government inciting others to violence or in any way hinting that it is acceptable.

MARTIN: At least 150,000 people attended the state backed rally yesterday that led to he violence and official said police were overwhelmed. It was the biggest march since protestors stormed the old Yugoslav parliament building in 2000 to oust nationalist leaders Slobodan Milosevic.

STEWART: And violence was not restricted to Serbia. In the Croatian capital of Zagreb, police arrested 44 people who burn the Serbian flag in retaliation for Serb attacks on the Croatian embassy in Belgrade.

MARTIN: European union official say the tension could harm progress on a preliminary deal on Serbia's ties with the European Union.

STEWART: That's the BPP's big story for today. Let's get some more of the news headlines.

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