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article imageAlbania's opposition calls for PM to resign

By AFP     Apr 13, 2019 in World

Several police officers were injured Saturday in Tirana during the opposition protest calling on Prime Minister Edi Rama to resign, an AFP journalist at the scene said.

The interior ministry said five police officers were injured, giving no details on the severity of their state.

The centre-right opposition Democratic Party said 15 protesters were affected by tear gas fired by police. They party had called the rally with another major opposition party, the centre-left Socialist Movement for Integration (MSI).

The rally, attended by thousands of people, had been tense from its start, in the late afternoon.

"I call you to resistance and insurgency to oust Rama," Democratic Party leader Lulzim Basha told the crowd. Albania needed early elections and a transitional government, he added.

Protesters forced police cordons and threw stones and smoke bombs at police, threw ink on the facade of a government building and burned a vehicle parked in front of parliament.

They chanted slogans denouncing a "parliament of crime!" and calling on Rama to step down.

Rama condemned the violence, said the opposition parties were on the road to self-destruction.

The opposition has been demonstrating for two months calling for the resignation of Rama, who has held office since 2013.

Deputies from both the centre-right and centre-left opposition have quit the parliament, accusing the government of manipulating the results of a June 2017 legislative election.

Albanian political life is marked by verbal violence, with left- and right-wing parties exchanging insults and accusing each other of corruption or links to organised crime.

Tirana nevertheless hopes to open accession talks with the European Union later this year.

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