Albania’s two main political opposition parties, the Democratic Party (PD) and the Socialist Party for Integration (LSI), are organizing a major demonstration in Tirana on Saturday, May 26. The protest is scheduled to start at 11:00 (local time) on Deshmoret e Kombit Boulevard, near the prime minister’s office. Increased security measures and traffic disruptions are expected around the protest.
Opposition supporters have accused the ruling party of attempting to influence ongoing investigations into corruption allegations facing several members of the ruling party by appointing a sympathetic chief prosecutor to the judiciary. The PD claims Xhafaj is protecting his brother from being extradited to Italy on drug charges from 2002 and released an audio tape on May 14 allegedly implicating Xhafaj’s brother in recent drug trafficking in his hometown.
On January 8, the PD and LSI announced that the parties will hold unified protests to bring down Prime Minister Edi Rama’s government. Both parties held rallies in Tirana in December 2017 to protest the appointment of an interim chief prosecutor. Some of the demonstrations turned violent on December 18, with roughly 3000 people gathering outside of the parliament building and clashing with police. Opposition lawmakers also threw smoke bombs and a flare inside parliament during the session.
Individuals in Albania, particularly in Tirana, are advised to monitor developments to the situation and to avoid all demonstrations as a precaution due to the risk of potential associated violence.