Albanian opposition holds new anti-government rally

10:13, February 05, 2011      

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Albania's opposition Socialist Party held a peaceful rally in Tirana on Friday, calling for the downfall of the ruling government over alleged corruptions.

Thousands of demonstrators, led by the opposition leader Edi Rama, marched in central Tirana, but stayed away from the street where the prime minister's office is located.

During the January 21 rally which turned violent, three people were shot dead and dozens more were injured outside Prime Minister Sali Berisha's office.

Besides Tirana, people in other three cities across the tiny western Balkan country also took to the streets. No violence has been reported in the demonstrations.

In Tirana, Demonstrators chanted "We want Albania without Sali" and carried banners that read "Berisha Mafia". Edi Rama was closely escorted by several bodyguards.

At least 5,000 people turned up in the rally in Tirana. The main street about 1,000 meters long was thronged with demonstrators, with onlookers lining the street.

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 the Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister Ilir Meta was forced from office over corruption allegations.

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

"We are determined to fight the regime, and no force could force us to step back," Rama told reporters after Friday's rally, saying that a new demonstration has been planned for next Friday.

Source: Xinhua
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