From: Exit Staff
US Embassy Calls on Police to Exercise Restraint during Protests, Opposition to Reject Violence

The US Embassy in Albania has called on the police to restrain from using excessive force during protests, and called on the opposition to reject violence.

In a statement shortly before the start of the third day of protest on Friday, following the killing of a young man by police, the embassy announced that Ambassador Yuri Kim had met with senior officials from the government and opposition to discuss the protests. 

“She underlined that those in power have the responsibility to provide a full and transparent investigation into the incident, to exercise restraint in protecting public safety and property, and to ensure accountability in all cases.  In this respect, we note that authorities have apprehended the officer in question and launched an investigation,” the statement said.

Police arrested dozens of protesters after the second day of protest on Thursday. Footage from the ground showed police violence on some protesters.

Ambassador Kim also called on the opposition to reject the violence that has occurred in protests, after some public spaces and buildings were vandalized last night.

“Those seeking to be in power should demonstrate their ability to lead in a responsible manner, including by rejecting violence.  Those who have been in power in the past should not compound past mistakes by suggesting that violence is acceptable,” Kim stated.

Prime Minister Edi Rama accused the opposition and President Ilir Meta of orchestrating the protests and vandalism earlier today. He threated vandals that they will face prison for their acts. 

“The US Embassy calls on all sides to exercise restraint, in keeping with their responsibilities, so that that the rights of all the Albanian people are protected and that their voices, including in protest, are able to be expressed and to be heard without violence,” the embassy’s statement concludes.