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Thursday, March 25, 1999 Published at 11:11 GMT

UK Politics

Serbs in Downing Street vigil

The protesters will be out in force on Saturday

Serbian demonstrators are aiming to maintain a continuous vigil outside Downing Street as long as Nato air strikes against their country continue.

Kosovo: Special Report
Hundreds of protesters gathered in Whitehall as news broke of the first air strikes on Wednesday night.

Their banners condemn the Nato action and call for the air strikes to stop.

Kosovo is the heart of Serbia, say the banners, while leaflets addressed to "the children of Tony and Cherry [sic] Blair" list what they believe is the UK's anti-Serbian sentiment.

Boban Durdevic, 39, came to London from Serbia 15 years ago and is the organiser of the vigil.

[ image: A round-the-clock vigil is being maintained]
A round-the-clock vigil is being maintained
He told BBC News Online: "We are demonstrating to firstly annoy Mr Cook, who does not like demonstrations and, secondly, to send support to the people in Serbia.

"This is the first military aggression in Europe since Nazi Germany attacked Poland but I hope it does not have the same consequences which would be a third world war.

"My mother and father still live in Serbia and I asked them to move to a small village last week but I could not speak to them yesterday as I could not get through."

The BBC's Graham Satchell listens to Serbian demonstrators distraught about the bombing
The protesters are planning a mass demonstration in Whitehall on Saturday when they will be joined by Serbs from across the UK.

Draza, 30, who moved to London from Serbia 10 years ago, said: "I've been here all night, there were 1,500 of us, not 400 like the radio said.

"I am extremely angry and disappointed at this inhumanity, disappointed in people who have allowed themselves to be brainwashed by the media.

"This is like 1984, people in Britain think they live in a democracy but they are being brainwashed.

[ image: The protesters say the UK is anti-Serbian]
The protesters say the UK is anti-Serbian
"We hope to get noticed on Saturday when we'll be joined by more people from Birmingham and other places and I know for a fact I have the support of my British friends."

Vanda Krajiuovic, who has lived in London for nearly 30 years, has been standing in Whitehall throughout the night and is prepared to stay there all day.

She was among a delegation of protesters who went to Parliament on Wednesday night to protest at the Nato air strikes.

She said: "I am a pacifist but even Tito was better than this.

"What they are doing is insane. The Albanians are absolute expansionists, we know what they are doing.

"The KLA has existed for a long time it was not just born yesterday."

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