- Title: ALBANIA: IMPOVERISHED CITIZENS PROTEST OVER CRUMBLING INVESTMENT SCHEMES
- Date: 23rd January 1997
- Summary: NORTHERN SHKODER, WESTERN DURRES, LUSHNJE AND ALBANIA (JANUARY 23-24, 1997) (RTV - ACCESS ALL) LUSHNJE (JANUARY 24, 1996) (RTV - ACCESS ALL) 1. LV TRAFFIC BLOCKED UP 0.07 2. SLV PROTESTERS CHEERING, BURNING RUBBISH/ BLOCKING ROAD 0.13 3. SV YOUTHS JUMPING UP AND DOWN CHANTING 0.19 4. LV/SV BURNING TRUCK/ YOUTHS BEATING TRUCK (4 SHOTS) 0.37 5. LV RIOT POLICE WALKING TOWARDS CROWD 0.44 6. SLV CROWD JEERING 0.51 7. LV CROWD THROWING STONES AT RIOT POLICE (2 SHOTS) 1.07 8. LV RIOT POLICE RETREATING, CROWD CHASING THEM 1.13 NORTHERN SHKODER (JANUARY 23, 1996) (RTV - ACCESS ALL) 9. PAN DEMONSTRATION 1.20 10. SV MEN WAVING BANK NOTES/ MAN EMPTYING HIS POCKETS TO SHOW THEY ARE EMPTY 1.31 WESTERN DURRES (JANUARY 23, 1996) (RTV - ACCESS ALL) 11. LV/SV CROWD BEING DISPERSED BY POLICE/ TRACTOR MOVING TOWARDS CROWD (8 SHOTS) 2.18 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
- Embargoed: 7th February 1997 12:00
- Location: LUSHNJE, NORTHERN SHKODER AND WESTERN DURRES, ALBANIA
- Country: Albania
- Reuters ID: LVA749L7LWAGJX3T7CT696HZAY6D
- Story Text: INTRO: Furious Albanian protesters, desperate at losing all their money in crumbling investment schemes, have attacked a senior minister and set buildings ablaze as protests grow throughout the Balkan state.
Violent scenes took place in Albania on Saturday(January 25) as protesters blocked roads and torched buildings and police trucks.
The impoverished Albanian citizens were desperate at losing their life savings on failed pyramid investment schmes.
President Sali Berisha's Democrats, facing one of their biggest crises since ousting former communists in a general election in 1992, have attempted to appease investors by banning pyramid schemes, setting 20-year prison sentences for their operators and freezing funds. Some fund managers have been arrested.
Albanian state television reported disturbances in eight towns across the region. The worst incidents were in Lushnje, 80 km (55 miles) south of Tirana, where crowds set on Foreign Minister Tritan Shehu.
The violence marked a serious escalation of two weeks of protests around the impoverished country where Albanians are angry they may have been duped into pouring their life savings into dubious pyramid investment schemes, offering huge returns.
Police chiefs sent truckloads of reinforcements to Lushnje on Friday night after residents set the town hall alight. But they failed to bring the protesters to heel, instead cowering behind vehicles as they came under a hail of stones.
About 30 demonstrators were arrested on Friday and police said 29 officers were hurt. There were no immediate figures on any injuries to protesters.
In Northern Shkoder around 500 demonstrators gathered in the town square, where they chanted and shouted.
In western Durres, protesters had to be moved on by baton-wielding riot police as their demonstration got out of hand.
Albanians, Europe's poorest people, have reacted fiercely to the prospect of losing investments which many of them made after selling homes, farms, livestock and other belongings.
The United States (U.S.) embassy in Tirana advised U.S.
citizens to exercise caution if travelling around Albania and to stay away from crowds as the Interior Ministry ordered the cancellation of soccer matches to stop further potential trouble.
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