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Tuesday, February 16, 1999 Published at 16:41 GMT


Riot police at London demo

Kurdish protesters on the roof of the Greek embassy in London

Riot police have been called to clear hundreds of Kurdish demonstrators from outside the Greek embassy in London.

The Ocalan File
Chanting crowds blocked the road in support of 50 protesters who earlier burst into the embassy and held hostage a man - thought to be a caretaker.

Linda Duffin: "Police negotiators are trying to resolve the demonstration"
A spokesman said those inside were ready to burn themselves to death if rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan, under arrest in Turkey, is not given asylum. The spokesman urged police not to use force.

"We are ready to die. There are more than 100 of us in here and we have petrol. We are ready to burn ourselves."

A Kurd says protesters are prepared to die
Trained negotiators are talking to those inside the embassy in Holland Park, west London.

As protesters staged a mass sit-down outside, police with riot shields lined up on the opposite pavement.

One woman was taken to hospital after setting her clothes on fire. Her condition is not known.

A campaigner explains why the protest started
The angry demonstration began early on Tuesday following the detention in Kenya of Mr Ocalan. He is now in Turkey facing terrorist charges.

Greek embassies were targeted by Kurds in London and across Europe because Greek officials in Nairobi handed Mr Ocalan over to Kenyan officials.

[ image: Chanting protesters blocked the road]
Chanting protesters blocked the road
Inspector Steve Bourne, of the Metropolitan Police, said: "The Greek ambassador has been present and he has spoken to the people inside the building, but I'm not party to what has gone on there."

London Fire Brigade and ambulance service crews are also at the scene after reports of gas. The police spokeswoman said: "Officers have detected a smell of gas from the building. There are no other details at this stage."

Other demonstrations are taking place in The Hague, Geneva, Copenhagen, Marseilles, Brussels and several other cities.

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