Albanian Protesters Torch Christmas Tree Following Police Killing

ALBANIAN protesters set fire to a Christmas tree outside the country’s parliament during massive riots following the fatal shooting of a 25-year old man by police.

On Tuesday, Klodian Rasha was shot dead by officers who were chasing him for breaking lockdown curfew in Albania’s capital Tirana. The death of the 25-year old sparked massive protests on Wednesday, with hundreds defying Covid laws restricting mass gatherings.

Protesters clashed with police, throwing rocks and flares at riot officers who fired teargas into the crowds. The demonstrators attempted to storm Albania’s Interior Ministry government complex in Tirana and set fire to a Christmas tree outside the country’s parliament. New Year’s Eve decorations on the city’s main Skanderberg Square were destroyed, as were several cars.

Nine officers were reported injured, with one in serious condition requiring surgery. A government statement said that the policeman who shot Rasha had been detained, and that ”this unacceptable killing of a citizen by a police officer cannot be exploited as a pretext to blind violence, to seriously injure police officers and damage public and private property”.

The protestors chanted ”I am Klodian” and ”Rama Out”, the latter referring to Albania’s PM Edi Rama who is in the United States while these riots unfold. Like other European countries, Albania has imposed laws to curb the spread of Covid-19 including a nightly curfew and a ban of gatherings of more than 10 people.

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Oisin Sweeney

Oisin is an Irish writer based in Seville, the sunny capital of Andalucia. After starting his working life as a bookseller, he moved into journalism and cut his teeth as a reporter at one of Ireland's biggest news websites. Since joining Euro Weekly News in November, he has enjoyed covering the latest stories from Seville, Spain and further afield - with special interests in crime, cybersecurity, and European politics. Anyone who can pronounce his name first try gets a free cerveza...