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Albanian members of parliament (MP) from the opposition party created blockades, detonated smoke bombs, and started a small fire during a legislative session on Monday in a failed attempt to block a vote on the government budget for 2024.
Albania’s current prime minister, Edi Rama, hails from the Socialist Party. The leader of the opposition Democratic Party is 79-year-old Sali Berisha, Albania’s first president after the fall of the Soviet Union and prime minister from 2005 to 2013.
Berisha told reporters after the melee in parliament that his party had to resort to smoke bombs and chair barricades because the Socialists had effectively silenced the opposition and frozen them out of power.
“The battle has no way back. Our goal is to bring pluralism to parliament,” Berisha said.
“Our battle is to show to each citizen that this is not the parliament representing them,” added opposition MP Gazmend Bardhi.
“In democracy, the opposition speaks with alternatives and not with flares,” retorted Socialist leader Bledi Cuci.
“They brought the vocabulary and matters of the street into politics,” Prime Minister Rama complained.
Opposition lawmakers began their disruption when Rama arrived in the chamber and took his seat for the budget vote. Rama’s bodyguards prevented the angry MPs from approaching where he and his Cabinet were seated.
The smoke bombs were deliberate, filling the legislative chamber with clouds of red, green, and purple smoke, but the fire was apparently an accident, started when one of the opposition MPs decided to light something on fire in a container and pass it around like a torch. Whatever the opposition was cooking in that container, it made for a furious blaze, which MPs managed to extinguish with bottles of mineral water:
The opposition has disrupted parliamentary proceedings several times over the past few months, including an incident in early November in which Democratic Party lawmakers tossed firecrackers and engaged in a brawl with the Socialists. The opposition vowed to escalate its disruptions unless the Socialists began respecting the Democratic Party’s right to call “temporary strikes” to shut down the legislature when it acted in an especially “shameful” manner.
Some of the Democratic Party’s anger stems from corruption charges filed against Berisha, which he dismisses as politicized persecution. Berisha and some members of his family were banned from traveling to the United States and United Kingdom in 2021 and 2022, respectively, due to corruption investigations.
In May 2021, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused Berisha of “involvement in significant corruption,” in which he used his power “for his own benefit, and to enrich his political allies and family members.”
Blinken added that Berisha had a history of using political influence to “protect himself, his family members, and his political allies at the expense of independent investigations, anti-corruption efforts, and accountability measures.”
Berisha was formally charged with corruption in October for using his power as prime minister from 2005 to 2009 to benefit his son-in-law with sweetheart deals on privatized government property. Berisha furiously denounced “mercenary prosecutors” for filing these “baseless” charges on Rama’s orders. His son-in-law was arrested, but Berisha himself is immune from prosecution for as long as he holds a seat in the legislature.
We update regularly World Latest Breaking News here. We update 2023-11-22 01:23:17 this news story from official website – https://www.breitbart.com/europe/2023/11/21/albania-opposition-starts-fire-in-parliament-during-anti-government-protest/.”
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