>EU File: Violent demos rock Tirana, police kill three protesters, Albania’s “ex”-communist PM accuses “ex”-communist party of staging “coup d’etat”

>Blogger’s Note: Albania is not a member of the European Union. However, we have placed this news item in our “EU File” category since many former communist states have relations with the EU.

This past Friday, Albania’s opposition Socialist Party, once the ruling Marxist-Leninist party, participated in a violent protest against the government, which is led by the ostensibly center-right Democratic Party. Police shot dead three protesters, while a fourth remains in a critical condition.

Albania’s parliament has voted to establish a special commission to investigate the deadly demonstration. In an extraordinary parliamentary session, Prime Minister Sali Berisha accused opposition leaders, who are “former” communists like himself, of attempting to seize power in a failed coup attempt.

“This inquiry commission will examine all the evidence to reveal the truth about the coup d’etat staged January 21 with the aim of overthrowing the constitutional order,” intoned parliament speaker Jozefina Topalli. The commission will have a three-month-mandate to investigate the clashes, which took place when tens of thousands of people demonstrated outside government headquarters in downtown Tirana (pictured above).

Albania has been in a political standoff since its last elections in July 2009. The Socialist Party refuses to recognize the results, blocking legislation and reforms in parliament. Despite pleas for peace from international representatives, Berisha has summoned Democratic Party supporters to meet in Tirana next Saturday for an “anti-violence rally.” Socialist leader and Tirana mayor Edi Rama also called for new protests after attending the burials of two of the victims on Sunday.

Albania is a “former” communist state that once hosted a Soviet submarine base on the Adriatic Sea. Prior to communist partisans seizing power at the end of the Second World War, the country was under the domination of Fascist Italy, which invaded in 1939. Albanians are the dominant ethnic group in Kosovo, the neighboring Serbian province that many countries worldwide (except Serbia and Russia) recognize as an independent state. The Albanian government, fearing Serbia as a potential enemy, joined NATO in 2009.

One response to “>EU File: Violent demos rock Tirana, police kill three protesters, Albania’s “ex”-communist PM accuses “ex”-communist party of staging “coup d’etat”

  1. mah29001 January 25, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    >It's very interesting how Communist regimes that were not officially Soviet Republics during the Cold War, or have had pro-Soviet dictators running the country to suddenly use WikiLeaks as a ruse as if they were covering up the KGB/FSB's possible activities in organizing Prague Spring-style deceptions.

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