Thousands of opposition supporters protested in Tirana on Saturday evening (local time), May 11, demanding the resignations of ruling left-wing government officials and early elections. Some of the demonstrators, gathering in front of the government building on Martyrs of the Nation Boulevard, reportedly threw Molotov cocktails, flares, firecrackers, and other objects at police; security forces fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse the protesters. An unspecified number of protesters were wounded in the clashes.
A heightened security presence and localized traffic disruptions are to be expected in Tirana over the coming hours. Similar protests are possible in the capital over the coming weeks. Clashes between demonstrators and security forces cannot be ruled out.
Opposition supporters have been holding regular demonstrations in Tirana in recent months, which have sometimes turned violent. On April 13, police officers fired tear gas to disperse protesters who attempted to storm the parliament building. The opposition leaders are demanding fresh elections and call for the departure of Prime Minister Edi Rama. Prime Minister Rama and his party have been accused of manipulating the results of the 2017 parliamentary elections, corruption, and having links to organized crime.
Individuals in Albania, particularly 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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