Breaking News: Protesters killed in Tirana rally

21/01/2011

TIRANA, Albania -- A demonstration in Tirana turned deadly on Friday (January 21st) as police clashed with thousands of opposition party supporters. Fatalities are being reported.

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"Three people are dead, 17 policemen and soldiers were injured, including three seriously, along with 22 civilians," hospital surgeon Sami Koceku told AFP news agency. Koceku said the victims were shot in the head at close range.

More than 20,000 were rallying outside government buildings, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Sali Berisha and his cabinet. The protestors accused the country's leadership of corruption and abuse of power.

Witnesses said a section of the crowd threw rocks at the police who responded with tear gas and water cannons.

Protesters dispersed after calls for calm from President Bamir Topi and Socialist Party leader Edi Rama. Albania has been in the throes of a political deadlock since the June 2009 elections, which the opposition says were married by serious irregularities. (BBC, Reuters -- 21/01/11)

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