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Wednesday, February 17, 1999 Published at 00:13 GMT


London protest enters second day

Kurdish protesters on the roof of the Greek embassy in London

Hundreds of protesters have spent the night outside the Greek Embassy in London in protest at the capture of the Kurdish rebel leader, Abdullah Ocalan.

The Ocalan File
About 50 Kurds inside the building holding hostage an embassy clerk said he was free to leave.

The man has been held since a mob broke in to the building in Holland Park early on Tuesday.

Two of the protesters barricaded inside the embassy left overnight of their own accord.

The BBC's Clarence Mitchell: "The mood is almost celebratory"
As night fell, protesters danced and chanted in a demonstration that was largely good natured, despite scuffles during the day.

Earlier, a Kurdish girl aged just 15 set her clothes alight after protesters broke through police lines.

She was taken to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, suffering from burns.

Death sentence

Mr Ocalan, leader of the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) which advocates independence from Ankara, is in Turkey facing terrorist charges.

The wave of anger against the Greeks came after reports that Mr Ocalan, who faces a possible death sentence, had been turned over to the authorities in Kenya by the Greek Embassy there, which had been giving him refuge.

The BBC's Andy Tighe: Good-natured demonstration
Some 500 demonstrators turned out in support of the protesters who had burst into the London embassy.

Riot police arrived in an attempt to contain the demonstration, but did not attempt to disperse the crowds who blocked the road. On Wednesday morning protesters agreed to move to a side street.

[ image: Some protesters are prepared to die for Mr Ocalan]
Some protesters are prepared to die for Mr Ocalan
Trained negotiators are talking to those inside the embassy.

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."

Other demonstrations are taking place in Geneva, Copenhagen, Marseille, Brussels and several other cities.

In The Hague, Holland, Kurdish demonstrators ended their occupation of the Greek ambassador's residence shortly after midnight on Tuesday and gave themselves up to police.

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