A crowd of protesters cheered the destruction of a huge Christmas tree in the Albanian capital Tirana amid fierce demonstrations over the death of a 25-year-old man, shot dead by police for allegedly breaching the Covid curfew.
Footage posted online showed demonstrators setting the Christmas alight before pushing it over, while local media reported that some people hurled projectiles as crowds gathered outside the interior ministry and the prime minister's offices.
Hundreds of young protestors gathered tonight in Tirana burning down the Christmas tree at the PM office in Albania 🇦🇱, after a 25 year old man was shot dead by the police for not respecting the Covid19 curfew. pic.twitter.com/STFmD8TdbS
— kos_data (@kos_data) December 9, 2020
— D. Tahiri (@IamDenis_Tahiri) December 9, 2020
Protesters demanded the resignation of Interior Minister Sander Lleshaj, who said that police were investigating the circumstances surrounding Klodian Rasha’s killing by officers on Tuesday.
Initially, police said Rasha had failed to stop when ordered and was carrying a weapon, however they later admitted he was not. The officer involved in the shooting has been arrested, and an inquiry is underway.
— Juve (@4PepGuardiola) December 9, 2020
Two police officers, a protestor and a journalist have reportedly been injured in the protest clashes, and law enforcement deployed tear gas on Wednesday in an effort to break up the crowds gathered in defiance of the state’s Covid measures.
Albania’s current Covid-19 restrictions include limits of 10 people gathering at once, the mandatory use of facemasks and curfews.
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In the last 24 hours, a further 752 new Covid-19 cases were reported by Albanian officials, taking the total number of confirmed cases there during the pandemic to 44,436. The Ministry of Health said that 15 more people had died from the virus, bringing the death toll to 936.
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