Albania: 3rd day of protests over price hikes blamed on war

March 11, 2022 GMT

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Demonstrators marched through Albania’s capital, Tirana, Friday and tried to block streets in other cities, in a third day of protests against recent price hikes that authorities blame on the war in Ukraine.

Prime Minister Edi Rama’s government imposed price controls on fuel, and has urged Albanians to use their cars less after fuel prices rose 50% last week.

Hundreds of people protested peacefully for about two hours outside Rama’s office in Tirana Friday, before proceeding to the city’s main Skanderbeg Square where many held a sit-down protest. Police prevented protesters from blocking main streets in the center.

In at least six other cities protesters temporarily blocked roads, in some cases scuffling with police who detained scores of people.

The fuel price hike has had a knock-on effect on food costs in the small Balkan country. Protesters accuse the government of profiting from the price hike by not reducing taxation. They have urged it to emulate neighboring countries — which have also been hit by global price hikes due to Russia’s war against Ukraine — and cut fuel taxes to cushion the blow to consumers.

In an effort to lower prices, the government on Friday convened a meeting with the main fuel suppliers. It was decided that suppliers’ profit margins will be kept to a minimum in coming months, while retail prices will be set daily and petrol stations that charge more will be closed.

Protesters said they would hold a nationwide protest on Saturday.