Albanian opposition clashes with police in anti-govt protest

The Albanian opposition has been calling for protests in Tirana since February, yet there is no signal of PM's resignation

Albanian opposition parties have rallied in the Tirana, the capital, calling for the government's resignation, an early parliamentary election as well as for electoral reforms over claims of corruption. Some protesters tried to storm the parliament building, but police responded with tear gas and water cannon.

According to local media, thousands of opposition supporters from around the country showed up Saturday at Tirana's main Martyrs of the Nation boulevard holding anti-government posters and slogans, throwing flares and other projectiles at police. Protesters broke through the police cordon at the main entrance of the government building, but did not try to open its doors.

Saturday's protest is the 9th since 16 February. The center-right Democratic Party-led opposition accuses the leftist Socialist Party government of Prime Minister Edi Rama of being corrupt and linked to organised crime, which the government denies. The protest was also expected to be the biggest in the country so far, after the leader of the Democrats, Lulzim Basha, called for "an immediate political rotation."

“On 13 April, we will see the biggest protest ever to bring an end to the illegitimate Prime Minister,” Basha said on Thursday, asking for a transitory Cabinet without Rama and demanding that an early election be held.

“They have created two Albanias, one for the majority, deprived of the opportunities for a better life, where parents are thrown in jail for being unable to pay for electricity, and another … for those above the law,” he added.

Edi Rama, however, still insists he would not resign and that there would be no fresh elections.

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