Albanian opposition to stage fresh protest

20:38, January 28, 2011      

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Albania's opposition will stage a fresh anti-government demonstration Friday afternoon, one week after a similar protest in which three people were killed.

Edi Rama, leader of the opposition Socialist Party, defied an appeal from the international community to cancel the protest, saying the demonstration outside the main government building would go ahead.

The demonstration would be peaceful and the demonstrators would lay flowers and light candles at the places where the three were killed in scuffles with police and national guards one week ago, Rama said.

Police said they considered the upcoming protest to be "a threat to national security, law and order, crime prevention and human rights," warning that they couldn't guarantee the demonstrators' security.

The opposition and the ruling coalition government have been at loggerheads since the 2009 general election. The opposition accused the ruling government of rigging the election, and refused to accept its results.

The tension came to a head this month when Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister Ilir Meta resigned over corruption allegations.

The opposition has been calling for the resignation of the coalition government, led by Sali Berisha, and an early election, which is due in 2013. Berisha rejected the demand.

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