22 Jan 2011

Protesters killed outside PM's office

8:20 am on 22 January 2011

Three people are reported to have been shot dead in Albania when opposition protesters fought police outside the office of Prime Minister Sali Berisha in the capital, Tirana.

An estimated 20,000 people rallied outside government buildings calling on the government to resign.

Some pelted the building and police with stones, sticks and umbrellas.

The police responded with tear gas, rubber bullets, water cannon and stun grenades. There were no immediate reports of arrests.

The BBC reports political tension has risen since deputy prime minister Ilir Meta resigned last week after being accused of corruption over a power plant tender.

The opposition accuses the government of corruption, abuse of power and rigging the last election.

Albania has been in political deadlock since the opposition rejected the result of the 2009 elections.

Local elections are due on 8 May but the next general election is not due until 2013.