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Albania opposition protest in Tirana

U.S., EU and other Western countries call to stop the violence

22 June, 16:49
(ANSA) - TIRANA - Thousands of opposition supporters gathered in Friday in front of the prime minister's office holding U.S., EU and German flags and shouting "Rama go." Main opposition Democratic Party leader Lulzim Basha threatened to hold protests across the country to prevent the municipal elections from taking place.

Center-right opposition parties are boycotting the the June 30 municipal elections after months of demanding an early national election and accusing the government of vote-rigging and other wrongdoing.

"Any attempt to provoke Albanians will fail shamefully and June 30 will be Edi Rama's political end," he said before leading supporters to the parliament building.

No objects were thrown at police, the first time that happened since the start of the rallies in mid-February and apparently a consequence of intensive calls from the U.S., EU and other Western countries to stop the violence.

President Ilir Meta is backing the protesters' cause and has been trying to cancel the elections, saying they would be "undemocratic" without the participation of the opposition.

Albania's parliament has started the lengthy procedure to oust Meta for allegedly violating the constitution. Rama offered no solution other than "it's time to hear the people," adding he would resume calls for unconditional dialogue after the polls.

The opposition has planned its ninth national protest later Friday. (ANSA-AP).

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