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Albania reflects on anti-Berisha riots


Albania

Albania reflects on anti-Berisha riots

Residents have been clearing up in the Albanian capital after a day of anti-government riots left three protesters dead.

The Socialist opposition has declared a day of mourning but promised more demonstrations as soon as the victims have been buried.

Protesters demanding the resignation of the government attacked Prime Minister Sali Berisha’s office building.

But public opinion is divided.

One man described the protests as a continuation of the 1997 rebellion. He said: “Irritated communists irritated the masses and provoked the catastrophic situation you can see.

But another commented: “Repressive forces of the government acted in an exaggerated way against the people which isthe reason why today we have this view of Tirana which is similar to Baghdad.”

Hospital sources say three civilians died of gunshot wounds. A number of police and civilians were also injured in the country’s worst violence since 1998.

Berisha, who denies winning the 2009 election by fraud and insists he will not stand down, has sworn there will be no “Tunisian-style” uprising in Albania.

He claims the demonstration included gangsters, drug traffickers and terrrorists.

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