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Albanian opposition holds new protest against government

Supporters of the opposition party attend an anti-government protest in front of Prime Minister Edi Rama's office in Tirana, Albania, May 25, 2019. (Photo by Reuters)

Demonstrators in the Albanian capital Tirana released lanterns into the sky on Saturday (May 25) as the opposition continued its nearly four-month-long protest against Socialist Prime Minister Edi Rama, trying to force his resignation and early elections.

Albanian police used a water cannon against opposition-led protests in Tirana after a group of demonstrators began throwing stones at them in front of the country's parliament building.

Violence erupted during several of the rallies in recent weeks, in spite of calls for peaceful demonstrating from the United States, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

The opposition, led by Democratic Party chief Lulzim Basha, has walked out of the parliament, accusing Rama of usurping the institutions.

U.S. and EU regard Rama's authorities as legitimate and have urged the opposition to return to the parliament and take part in local elections on June 30.

Albania joined NATO in 2009, but an invitation to start EU membership talks remains elusive. The European Commission recommended Albania start accession talks last year, but the European Council delayed the decision for this year in June as Albania overhauls its judiciary to flush out corrupt judges.

(Source: Reuters)

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