Sali Berisha, leader of the opposition Democratic Party of Albania and former president of Albania, was attacked during an anti-government protest in Tirana. The attacker punched the 78-year-old politician in the face. The police nabbed the aggressor. It was reported that he had already made a record and was suffering from mental illness.
Sali Berisha led a march of several hundred people past the grounds of the European Union-Western Balkans summit in Tirana on Tuesday. Demonstrators protested against the policies of Edi Rama’s government, blaming the increase in the cost of living and the mass migration of young Albanians to Western Europe. They have also made allegations of corruption against the Prime Minister, calling for early elections.
During the procession, a man stepped out of the crowd and hit Berisha in the face. Supporters of the former president dragged the assailant and assaulted him. He was later arrested by police, Reuters reported. Despite being beaten, Berisha returned to his supporters with a bloodied face. In his speech, he accused Prime Minister Ram of planning an attack against him.
At a later briefing, the former president said: “Aggressive and criminal behavior by a person who meets all the criteria for the use of authorities.
Police said the attacker was a 31-year-old man who suffered from mental health problems and had previous convictions for violent crime and drug trafficking.
Berisha was the leader Albania Prime Minister from 1992-1997 and 2005-2013. He has led the centre-right Albanian Democratic Party since 2013, the main opposition party to Rama’s ruling Albanian Socialist Party.
In 2021, the US State Department barred Berisha from entering the US after finding he had engaged in “corruption cases that undermine democracy” while in office. In the same year, the British authorities took a similar step.
Main photo source: Reuters
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