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Health Ministry Says Dozens Fall Ill At Albanian Opposition Rally

Opposition leader Lulzim Basha (file photo)

Albania’s Health Ministry said that 76 people fell ill early on May 28 and needed medical attention after attending a rally for an opposition party.

The ministry said in a statement that patients showed "signs of poisoning such as eye rashes, eye burns, irritation of the skin in exposed areas of the face and neck, as well as in special cases, even light breathing difficulties.”

The ministry did not give a cause for the incident, which it said is under investigation. No life-threatening injuries were reported.

The Tirana Times quoted local media as saying some people at the rally complained they were unable to see clearly after a white powder was thrown into the air near opposition leader Lulzim Basha during the rally.

Albanians head to the polls in parliamentary elections on June 25.

Albania is a NATO member and hopes to begin talks to join the European Union by the end of this year.

Based on reporting by the Tirana Times and AP