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Date: Fri, 21 Feb 97 17:36:26 CST
From: (Brian Hauk)
Subject: Belgrade Formally Concedes Elections

Albania anti-government revolt spreads

By Argiris Malapanis, The Militant, Vol.61 no.8, 24 February 1997

[. . .] the rebellion against the pro-capitalist regime of Democratic Party chief Sali Berisha has continued to spread in Albania. On February 11, about 40,000 angry demonstrators filled the streets of the southern port city of Vlora to mourn the first victims of government repression and press other demands. Many chanted, "We will take revenge!", "Berisha killed him," and "Down with dictatorship."

Two people were killed and 81 wounded a day earlier, when the police attacked thousands who took to the streets to protest another bankruptcy of a "pyramid scheme" based in the town and demand the government cover their losses. Over 500,000 Albanians were lured by exorbitant interest rates to deposit their savings in these fraudulent investment funds, promoted by state television, in search of income higher than average wages of $75 per month. On February 12, government forces blocked the streets of Tirana and penned opposition leaders in their offices, to prevent protests from spreading in the country's capital. Fearing the increasingly militant revolt, however, authorities dropped plans to declare a state of emergency in Vlora.

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