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Albania: Main opposition parties to start protests Jan. 27 /update 1

The two main political opposition parties plan to start protest campaign against the current government on January 27 with major rally scheduled in Tirana

24 jan. 21h55 UTC
TIMEFRAME expected from 24/1/2018, 12h00 until 27/1/2018, 11h59 (Europe/Tirane). COUNTRY/REGION Tirana
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Event

Albania’s two main political opposition parties, the Democratic Party (PD) and the Socialist Party for Integration (LSI), are planning to start a protest  campaign against the current government on Saturday, January 27. A major demonstration is expected to take place in the capital city of Tirana on Saturday. As of Wednesday, January 24, specific details about the rally have not been released; however, increased security measures and transportation disruptions are to be expected surrounding the protest.

Context

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.

Political unrest has seized Albania in recent months over perceived corruption among members of its ruling Socialist Party and in the judiciary. The political opposition in Albania has 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 Democratic Party boycotted parliamentary sessions from February 2017 to May 2017 for related reasons, accusing the ruling party of corruption and of mishandling the country's poverty and drug crises.

Advice

Individuals in Albania, particularly in Tirana, are advised to monitor developments to the situation and avoid all demonstrations as a precaution due to the risk of potential associated violence.