Hundreds of opposition supporters across the country protested on four main highways linking Albania to Kosovo on Thursday, April 5, erecting roadblocks and burning tires. Demonstrations took place near the towns of Milot, Vora, Elbasan, and Cerme. In some areas, protesters clashed with police and roads were blocked for two hours before being reopened. Further demonstrations are possible in the coming days and additional traffic disruptions cannot be ruled out.
Violent protests broke out on March 31 after the government introduced its first toll system on the Milot-Morine highway, which is used by many Kosovars that travel into Albania. Tolls reportedly range from USD 3 to 28. Demonstrators burned down toll booths and clashed with police; at least 23 people have been arrested. Leaders from the main opposition Democratic Party (PD) have called on supporters to launch a civil disobedience campaign against the tolls. The government claims that the tolls will finance repairs along the highway, while opposition leaders claim that officials will keep the money for themselves.
Individuals in Albania are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all demonstrations as a precaution due to the risk of potential associated violence (and never attempt to cross a roadblock), and anticipate traffic disruptions around all protests.
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