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Thursday, February 18, 1999 Published at 13:32 GMT


Embassy protest 'to end'

Demonstrators inside the embassy are preparing to leave

Live coverage of the demonstration outside the Greek embassy in London.

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Several dozen Kurdish protesters barricaded inside the Greek embassy in London are reportedly preparing to give themselves up.

Police Ch Supt Anthony Wills: "It's speculation as far as we're concerned"
The demonstrators say they want to conclude their occupation of the building. But they have not to come to an agreement with the police about how to end the stand-off.

The protesters have said that those inside the embassy, who are holding a junior official hostage, will make a statement to the press at midday before leaving the building an hour later.

The Ocalan File
Police are understood to have been involved in telephone negotiations with the demonstrators.

Joe Paley reports from the Greek embassy
The Greek embassy in Holland Park was seized on Tuesday by Kurds enraged by the capture of their leader Abdullah Ocalan earlier this week and his deportation to Turkey to stand trial.

It was initially believed that officials in the Greek embassy in Kenya had been involved in the arrest of Mr Ocalan, although this has not been confirmed.

However on Thursday the Greek foreign minister resigned amid accusations of mishandling the affair along with the public order and interior ministers.

[ image: Embassy roof: Protesters appear relaxed]
Embassy roof: Protesters appear relaxed
Earlier, protesters at the embassy in London made it clear that they were prepared to die for their cause and would set themselves on fire if police stormed the building.

The protesters also said they were on hunger strike and appeared on the roof holding what could have been petrol bombs.

However, the Greek hostage, security guard Babis Patsouris, said he was being treated well.

[ image: Chanting demonstrators blocked the road]
Chanting demonstrators blocked the road
A crowd of supporters has gathered in the exclusive Holland Park area of west London to show solidarity with those occupying the embassy.

Late on Wednesday evening, a demonstrator tried to set himself alight. He doused his clothes in petrol but police dragged himself away before he could light them.

Fifteen-year-old Nejla Kanteper is recovering from severe burns after she set herself on fire at the protest on Tuesday.

The arrest of Mr Ocalan sparked spontaneous protests around the world. Three Kurdish demonstrators were shot dead in Berlin, Germany, as they tried to storm the Israeli embassy.

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