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Albania: Police Disperse Rally

Tirana, 30 January 1997 (RFE/RL) - For the second straight day Albanian police today broke up a protest rally on the outskirts of Tirana, the capital, claiming it had not been authorized.

Police prevented some 200 people from gathering in a soccer field, pushing them as well as reporters, out by force. Two people were reported arrested. The rally was called by opposition parties, who blame the government for collusion in failed so-called get-rich-quick investment schemes.

Yesterday another opposition rally was also proclaimed illegal and forcefully dispersed.

Today, police presence remained heavy in Tirana, but army patrols that were deployed recently to guard public buildings after violent incidents, were removed. But Foreign Minister Tritan Shehu told AFP that special security measures will remain in force with the troops ready to move in at any moment.

Meanwhile, in a statement the Interior Ministry today denied earlier media reports that more than 500 people had been arrested during anti-government protests. The statement said some 250 people have been detained for questioning but denied there was political motivation behind the action.