March 16, 1997 |
Outside Police Station No. 2 here Saturday morning, men from northern villages jostled in line for their brand-new Kalashnikov rifles, courtesy of a government struggling to quash violent chaos that has left the country in shreds. "We are volunteers. We are coming here to restore order," proclaimed Perparium Lamaj, who manages a pizzeria and supports embattled President Sali Berisha. Lamaj, 26, wore a newly acquired gun across his back.
March 7, 1997 |
In an effort to pacify armed rebellion in the south, the Albanian government agreed Thursday to halt military operations there for 48 hours. In exchange, opposition politicians called on the insurgents to lay down their weapons and accept amnesty.
March 6, 1997 |
President Sali Berisha, parts of his country in open revolt, deepened his own diplomatic isolation Wednesday by refusing the helping hand of Western mediators. Foreign Minister Tritan Shehu said the "timing" was wrong for an international peace mission, even as a military assault appeared imminent against Albanians in revolt in three southern cities.
April 5, 1997 |
Rifts opened in President Sali Berisha's right-wing party Friday, aggravating the crisis in lawless Albania as it prepares for deployment of an Italian-led security force of up to 6,000 troops. About 20 Democratic Party parliament members said they will no longer "accept the diktat of the president" and accused Berisha of seizing too much power. Their statement was the strongest criticism yet of Berisha from his own ranks since unrest broke out in the nation last month.
March 20, 1997 |
The government sent back hundreds of Albanians it considered dangerous and declared a state of emergency that allows immediate expulsion of refugees deemed undesirable. The decree was the government's first comprehensive response to the crisis in Albania, which brought more than 10,600 refugees to Italian shores. It also called for inspections of boats carrying would-be refugees, the seizure of vessels that do arrive and the granting of temporary visas.
February 25, 1991 |
Anti-democracy protesters demanded Sunday that Albania's government ban the opposition Democratic Party and hang its leaders, according to reports monitored in Vienna. The rally came just hours after the government, seeking to prevent more bloodshed, denied it had asked provincial authorities to organize supporters of the late dictator Enver Hoxha to march on the capital, Tirana. Many conservative and older Albanians revere Hoxha, Communist Albania's Stalinist founder.
September 19, 1998 |
Parliament on Friday stripped former President Sali Berisha of his immunity from prosecution for an alleged coup attempt, pushing him to the wall in a dispute with the Albanian government. Just hours after Berisha failed to mobilize his promised mass protests, parliament--which his Democratic Party is boycotting--cleared the way for the government to order his arrest. Foreign diplomats were trying to talk the government out of acting.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 18, 1997 |
As hundreds of Americans evacuate Albania, a priest from Orange County messaged his family Monday that he is staying in the violence-torn nation to help keep the faith among the people he has been trying to help. Father Martin Ritsi sent his family home from this Balkan land last week to stay with a relative in Tustin.
September 14, 1998 |
Protesters angry over the killing of an opposition leader set fire to Albania's main government building and sent the prime minister and his Cabinet fleeing in a hail of gunfire. One protester was killed and four guards of Prime Minister Fatos Nano were wounded as marchers and police traded gunfire. Clouds of smoke from burning cars rose over the center of Tirana, the capital.
March 8, 1997 |
While rebelling southerners reinforced their combat positions, President Sali Berisha on Friday rejected international pressure and his opponents' demands for new elections. In talks with European envoys, Berisha also refused to bring his rivals, the Socialists, into a governing coalition. He said he has done all he is willing to do--temporarily suspend military offensives against the militants.