Police Arrest 42 Opposition Protesters

Albanian police has arrested 42 protesters following last night opposition rally in front of the Prime Minister’s Office and Parliament building. 18 others were released, the State Police announced.

Protesters were detained for assaulting the police with flares and firecrackers, causing injuries to 10 officers. They face charges of organizing and participating in illegal rallies and manifestations, disrupting the public peace, violating rules on explosives, resisting and hitting the police.

The media have reported that 3 protesters were also injured and hospitalized.

In a public statement, opposition Democratic Party said that those arrested were “political prisoners”.

Yesterday, following a peaceful protest in front of Prime Minister’s Office, protesters scuffled with police at the Parliament Building. They threw firecrackers and flares toward the building and police, which responded with water cannons and tear gas.

After last night’s protest, the opposition announced they will hold another protest on Saturday, June 8th.

In February, the opposition has relinquished their parliamentary seats and have been staging protests demanding Rama’s resignation, a transitional government and new elections. They accuse Rama of vote-buying in collusion with criminal gangs in the last elections in 2017.

Albania is set to hold local elections on June 30, which the opposition has boycotted. Rama has announced his Socialist Party’s objective to win elections in all 61 municipalities in the country.