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Albania: Shooting At Berisha Rally Wounds At Least Six People

Elbasan, Albania; 12 June 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Shooting broke out today at a campaign rally attended by Albanian President Sali Berisha, wounding at least six people. Berisha was not hurt in the incident.

News reports say that the injured included at least two policemen. The others wounded were civilians.

The shooting took place in the town of Elbasan, some 30 kms. southwest of Tirana.

Details remain sketchy. But an Elbasan police spokesman (Agim Sagaj) said trouble began when some of the president's guards at the rally of 1,000 people grabbed and beat a young boy who had heckled Berisha. The spokesman said some in the crowd supporting the boy fired weapons in the air to frighten the guards. The guards then fired back, sparking an exchange of gunfire.

After the shooting the crowd dispersed quickly except for a small group. Berisha told the remaining audience that his ruling Democratic Party will win the June 29 parliamentary elections. He then left the scene.

The vote is supposed to restore order in Albania after the unrest that followed the collapse of fraudulent investment schemes in February.