Clashes between police and protesters were reported across several Albanian municipalities on Wednesday, June 19, as activists attempted to disrupt planning for the June 30 election. Supporters of the opposition party, which is boycotting the election, vandalized election centers in Burrel and Kukës, while protesters in Klos burned election ballots. According to local sources, security forces deployed tear gas in Burrel and Kukës in an attempt to disperse protesters.
Meanwhile, the opposition Democratic Party (DP) is planning to hold another rally in the capital Tirana on Friday, June 21. Opposition supporters are calling for Prime Minister Edi Rama to resign and for the creation of a transitional government to oversee new elections. The demonstration is expected to take place at Mother Teresa Square; protesters may also gather outside the parliament building.
Heightened security measures and traffic disruptions are to be expected around all demonstrations. Clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out and similar protests are possible across the country over the coming days and weeks.
President Ilir Meta canceled the upcoming June 30 local elections on Saturday, June 8, claiming ongoing opposition-led protests are detrimental to the holding of "representative and inclusive elections." Prime Minister Edi Rama has nevertheless pledged to carry out the elections despite Meta's actions.
Protests on June 8 turned violent after sunset as protesters near the parliament building lit fireworks and threw flares at riot police who used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd. Opposition leaders have been holding regular demonstrations in Tirana in recent months to demand fresh elections and Prime Minister Rama’s resignation. Rama and his party have been accused of manipulating the results of the 2017 parliamentary elections, corruption, and having links to organized criminal activity.
Individuals in Albania, particularly those in Tirana, are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations as a precaution, anticipate a heightened security presence and transportation disruptions near protest sites, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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