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US, Europe condemn violence in Albania opposition rallies

Protesters try to remove a metal fence during clashes with police outside the Government building in Tirana, Saturday, May 11, 2019. Thousands of supporters of the Albania's center-right opposition protested in Tirana Saturday, calling for the left-wing government to resign and for an early parliamentary election. (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina)

TIRANA, Albania — The U.S. and European Union lawmakers are calling on Albania’s centre-right opposition parties to restrain from violence in their anti-government protests.

Protests over the weekend turned violent with opposition supporters showering police officers with Molotov cocktails while police responding with tear gas. Injuries were reported on both sides.

The opposition has been holding protests since mid-February, accusing government officials of corruption and of stealing votes in the parliamentary election two years ago. They are demanding a transitory government and an early election.

A U.S. embassy statement in Tirana Monday called on opposition leaders to condemn violence and “ensure that all future public protests are orderly and peaceful.”

European parliamentarians also called on Albanians “to restrain from all forms of violence.”

The Associated Press