THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) _ About 300 people chanting ``Clinton Killer″ rallied Saturday against NATO plans to land 2,000 troops in this northern port city on their way to Kosovo for a military exercise.
The protests, backed by Greece’s small but defiant Communist Party, were expected to swell Sunday, when 1,100 U.S. troops and about 900 from Argentina, The Netherlands, Poland and Romania were scheduled to arrive.
The soldiers are to travel overland to neighboring Macedonia and into Kosovo to take part in the exercise, nicknamed Dynamic Response 2000.
``This invasion by American ... marines is a provocation for the Greek people,″ Communist Party leader Aleka Papariga said.
The Communists led rowdy rallies across Greece last year, during NATO’s 78-day bombing of Yugoslavia. They also held protests during President Clinton’s visit to Athens in November.
Although Greece is a NATO member, many Greeks condemned the bombing, appearing suspicious of the motives of the U.S.-led intervention and sympathizing with the fellow Orthodox Serbs.
More anti-NATO protests were planned in Athens and other cities for next week to mark the anniversary of the start of the bombing. The demonstrations could place renewed pressure on Greece’s Socialist government ahead of general elections April 9.