Deputies participating in a spontaneous protest Monday night stacked chairs in the center of the room and lit smoke bombs. However, security did not allow protesters to approach Prime Minister Edi Rama’s chair, The Guardian reports. A deputy lit a small bonfire, the flames spread briefly and were put out by the politicians surrounding him.
The de facto leader of the opposition Democratic Party, Sali Berisha, a former prime minister who was also Albania’s first post-communist president from 1992 to 1997, accused the government of trying to silence the opposition in parliament, where Rama’s Socialist Party has a most. In October, Albanian prosecutors charged Berisha and his son-in-law with corruption in connection with a land deal. Prosecutors accused him of using his influence as prime minister from 2005 to 2009 to exert pressure “to complete the privatization process in favor of others, including his daughter’s husband.”
His brother-in-law was arrested, but as a legislator, Berisha has immunity from prosecution. He was ordered not to leave the country. He denies the charges and accuses Rama of organizing legal proceedings against him. “They (the opposition, RG note) brought street language and manners into politics,” Rama said after the end of the riots.