Two police officers were injured and hospitalized while four protesters showed respiratory problems and needed care during the demonstrations in front of the Albanian government building in Tirana, on Saturday.
The atmosphere was tense as thousands of people demonstrated and forces of the class have repeatedly used tear gas and water pumps to repel them, AFP reporter reports.
Responding to a call from the opposition, protesters called for the resignation of Socialist Prime Minister Edi Rama, who has been in power since 2013 and accused of “corruption.” They repeatedly broke through the police cordon and occupied the courtyard in front of the headquarters of the government.
A group of about a hundred protesters initially threw smoke bombs and rocks against the government building, which was guarded by significant police forces. The protesters were shouting “Rama, leave!”
Rocks thrown by the protesters broke glass windows. About ten protesters also attempted to enter the building trying to break down the gate, but were repulsed by the police officers inside.
“The situation is out of control,” Lulzim Basha, head of the center-right Democratic Party, the largest opposition, told reporters.
He accused the police of letting protesters approach the building “forcing them to violence” and thus allowed Eddie Rama to “blame the opposition for the violence.”
Thousands of protesters were still in front of the government headquarters, in the early afternoon, according to a reporter from the French Agency.
54-year-old Edi Rama, who began his second prime ministry in 2017, announced yesterday that he would not be in Tirana during the protest. He was going to go to Avlona, his constituency, for a “dialogue” with the inhabitants about the “development of the city”.
Rama is questioned by the mainstream opposition, the center-right Democratic Party, which has already organized similar demonstrations without, however, causing a major problem to his government.
“February 16th will be the last day of Rama’s rule. This regime must be overturned at all costs,” Lulzim Basha, leader of the Democratic Party, said Wednesday, during a gathering of his supporters.
Incriminating Rama for “synergy with organized crime” and “plunging the country into corruption and poverty“, the opposition, which consists of five center-right and center-left parties, calls for the formation of a technocratic government that will undertake early elections.