Normally reticent Utahns honked and waved their support Saturday as about 50 people gathered in front of the Federal Building to protest the NATO bombings of Yugoslavia.

Vladimir Senic, a University of Utah student and one of the organizers of the demonstration, said Americans aren't being told the full story by the media and that airstrikes will not ease tensions in that region but only kill innocent people."This is something that will help neither Serbs nor Albanians. It's like spilling oil on fire," Senic said.

Telling the American public the full story, not just the Serbian side but also that of ethnic Albanians, will give people here a better understanding of what is happening, he said.

"The solution is definitely a dialogue that is honest on both sides and a peace plan that grants rights both to Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo," Senic said.

NATO officials have said they undertook the airstrikes in Yugoslavia to end the humanitarian tragedy in the separatist province of Kosovo, where 2,000 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands have been forced to flee. NATO said Serb forces are involved in an "ethnic cleansing" campaign against ethnic Albanians who comprise the majority of the province.

NATO officials also want the airstrikes to undercut the military strength of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and force him to accept a peace agreement in which NATO forces would be stationed in Kosovo.

Senic said the agreement drafted earlier in France was unacceptable because it would allow Kosovo to become independent in three years and Kosovo is an integral part of Serbia's religious and cultural history. He said Albanians have had chances to take part in elections to choose government representative to voice their views, but they have boycotted the elections.

Senic said he personally opposes Milosevic, but under the current circumstances, supports him as a political leader to protect the country.

Senic also said that in the past, ethnic Albanians have been guilty of atrocities against Serbs.

"In 1974, (the late communist dictator) Marshal Tito had a new law where Albanians had their own government, their own police, in control of the province. They used that chance very cleverly to move the Serbs from Kosovo," Senic said. "It was done silently. There were rapes, mistreatings. . . . You didn't hear about it because it was in communist Yugoslavia," where news was routinely censored, Senic said.

Alexander Gogic, another demonstrator who formerly lived in Sarejevo, said President Clinton apparently has forgotten the longstanding ties between Serbs and Americans. "During World War II, the Serbian royal troops saved 500 American pilots who had been shot down," Gogic said. "This is Clinton's way of saying, 'Thank you'? "

Why not just let Kosovo go its own way?

"What would you say if California wanted to become an independent state and join Mexico and Serbians came here and bombed here?" Gogic asked.

Among other things, Orthodox Serbians have strong spiritual links with Kosovo, which contains 1,300 religious shrines and monasteries, many of them centuries old, that are under U.N. protection.

Another Serbian man who gave his first name as Alexander but declined to give his last name said America should not bomb innocent people. "Milosevic will be safe. He will be underground. He will have food and water. The Serbian people will suffer a long time."

Demonstrator Timothy Hendon said he was troubled by the recent events that include four consecutive days of airstrikes against Yugoslavia. "It's really unfortunate NATO has chosen the path it has chosen. It is a difficult and complicated situation. There are violent extremists on all sides," Hendon said. "The only way for this to end is for people to begin treating people humanely and respecting human rights."