Cautious hope and relief among the expats

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On the wall of the Skaddarlija café in London's Shepherd's Bush is a clock showing the time in Kragujevac, a town 120km south of Belgrade, and the birthplace of the café's owner Alexander Petrovic.

On the wall of the Skaddarlija café in London's Shepherd's Bush is a clock showing the time in Kragujevac, a town 120km south of Belgrade, and the birthplace of the café's owner Alexander Petrovic.

Exiled since the Second World War, Mr Petrovic had vowed to return only when communism was vanquished. But even Mr Petrovic admits that he still cannot believe that his homeland has finally been liberated.

"We lost hope and thought this day would never come," said Mr Petrovic.

"Milosevic ruined the reputation of the Serbs. He had charisma which he used to persuade the people to believe in him. The devil is very charming, but the people ended up seeing through his lies."

An intense youth who refuses to give his name has a different attitude towards Milosevic. "I'm not a political man but the main reason I preferred Milosevic was he did not give in to foreign powers," he said as the others tried to shout him down.

Jovan, 36, is a computer technician for UBS Warburg who has been in Britain for 10 years but is now intent on returning once he has saved up for the air fare.

"As soon as there is economic stability again I will return and I think a lot of other people will. I want to be with my people," he said.

In Leeds, a small group of Serbs gathered to remember a friend who died last year.

And as they raised glasses in his memory, they also celebrated the quiet revolution which has overthrown Slobodan Milosevic.

Mako Stevanovic, 73, said how glad he was no force had been used in the removal of Milosevic. "It means the country will settle down more quickly. I don't think that Milosevic will cause any more trouble.

"But it's also important that the new government is left alone without interference form other powers, especially from the West."

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