Former Albanian President Arrested after Deadly Violence
Former Albanian president Sali Berisha was briefly detained by police just hours after a deadly gun battle in his northern stronghold between opposition supporters and police, the interior ministry said Wednesday.
Berisha was detained shortly after midnight upon leaving his opposition Democratic Party (PD) headquarters for "refusing to cooperate with police who wished to search his car and the people accompanying him."
The ministry said he was released after one and a half-hours.
In a press conference after his detention, Berisha accused the government of being responsible for a "massacre at Tropoja" and orchestrating a campaign of "terror against democrats."
On Tuesday heavy gun battles erupted in Tropoja, a Berisha stronghold, after attackers burned down the town's court and attacked a police station. Five people, one of them a police officer, were killed in the fighting.
Albanian Prime Minister Ilir Meta told AFP the clashes were sparked by Berisha supporters who have led a series of violent protests against the results of last month's municipal elections.
The fighting came in the wake of a call by Berisha for widespread protests throughout Albania to topple the government, and led to security forces being placed on full alert throughout Albania.
Although there was no independent confirmation of an opposition role in the latest clashes, Albania has seen rising political unrest since Berisha refused to accept the results of the elections in October, won by the ruling Socialist Party.
However the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which had several hundred observers monitoring the electoral process, said that any "irregularities noticed did not affect the final results" of the elections -- TIRANA (AFP)
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