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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 June 2007, 15:59 GMT 16:59 UK
Vigil for BBC captive's 100th day
Media colleagues hold a vigil for Alan Johnston outside parliament in London, UK - 20/06/07
Media colleagues gather outside parliament in London
Thousands of colleagues of BBC Gaza correspondent Alan Johnston around the world have observed a vigil to mark 100 days since he was kidnapped.

BBC staff in newsrooms and at the Glastonbury festival, and even those reporting live on TV, stopped what they were doing for a moment of silence.

In Scotland, Mr Johnston's parents released 100 balloons to mark the days passed since his abduction.

The Palestinian group Hamas says it is working to secure his release.

Mr Johnston was the only Western reporter permanently based in Gaza, and his abduction has triggered appeals for his release from politicians and rights groups around the world.

You are the finest correspondent I know. I look forward to seeing you soon
James Reynolds
BBC Beijing correspondent

Several foreigners have been seized in the troubled Palestinian territory in recent years and all have been released unharmed, but none has been held as long as the BBC reporter.

BBC staff around the world paused at 1315 GMT (1415 UK time) - the moment Mr Johnston was believed to have been seized in Gaza.

Alan Johnston

The BBC Trust, led by the chairman Sir Michael Lyons, interrupted its meeting to take part in an event at Broadcasting House in central London.

Colleagues on the set of soap opera EastEnders, and those working at the Glastonbury festival in Somerset, were also among those participating.

Many members of staff held pictures of the reporter during the two-minute silence.

At the same time, at their home in Scotland, Mr Johnston's parents Graham and Margaret were joined by villagers to release 100 balloons.

BBC News 24 and BBC World TV channels carried live pictures of the event, which was covered on BBC World Service radio and the BBC's interactive services.

THE EDITORS' BLOG
Editors' blog
The last three months have been a dreadful time for his family and friends - but particularly for Alan
Jon Williams,
World news editor, BBC News

On Friday, the Palestinian Islamist movement, Hamas, was reported to have set a deadline of Monday for the kidnappers - a group calling itself the Army of Islam - to free Mr Johnston.

In a video released two days later, Mr Johnston's captors denied they had reached a deal with Hamas for his imminent release but acknowledged that there had been "developments" in meetings with Hamas.

But Monday's deadline passed without further progress.

Ismail Haniya, leader of Hamas and the former Palestinian prime minister, said his group had not set Monday's deadline, "but the go-betweens gave their own estimates of this matter".

"But we are continuing [our efforts to free Alan Johnston]. I hope [his abduction] will end as soon as possible," he said.




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