Serbian police disarm man at president′s office | Europe | News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 21.05.2009

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Serbian police disarm man at president's office

Police in the Serbian capital, Belgrade, have disarmed a man with two hand grenades who had threatened to blow himself up in front of the president's office.

Serbian President, Boris Tadic, speaking at a campaign rally last year in Belgrade

Serbian President Boris Tadic helped negotiate an end to the standoff

"The grenade has been safely taken away from him after five hours of negotiations," a police spokeswoman said on Thursday.

The offender, a 57-year-old bankrupt businessman, had pulled out the safety pin on at least one of the grenades and had threatened to detonate the device if an old court case was not settled in his favor.

President Boris Tadic's office said the president had entered the building after the standoff began, and had apparently taken part in negotiations between the man and SWAT teams dealing with the situation.

Police said the man was seated with his hand grenades in a small lobby at a side entrance, surrounded by policemen pointing guns at him, while negotiators tried to persuade him to surrender.

The man is said to have announced his intentions in 11,000 e-mails sent to private and public institutions. He allegedly threatened to commit suicide because he had lost a case filed against the Serbian state airline, JAT. In that suit he had demanded millions of euros in compensation for unspecified damages.

Police said that five years ago the man had gone on an 80-day hunger strike in front of parliament to protest what he had felt was wrongful treatment by the judiciary.

Editor: Nancy Isenson

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