(en) Albania Report 03/17

i-afd_1@anarch.free.de
Tues, 18 Mar 1997 23.00 GMT


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Note on Origin: The I-AFD (Initiative for an Anarchist Federation in Germany) is a small anarchist organisation in germany attempting to build an extensive structure of all anarchists regardless of theoretical differences to improve effectiveness, cooperation and discussion within the anarchist movement. It is organised internationally in the IFA (International of Anarchist Federations).

Robert (for the A-Infos Group in germany)

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*I-AFD Group Hamburg I* (i-afd_2@anarch.free.de) ALBANIA REPORT from March the 17., 1997

News at noon reported Berisha again welcomed EU's fact-finding delegation. In a speech broadcasted on Albanian TV he mentioned that secret service Shik was responsible for violence during the last days and pointed out that Shik meanwhile was dissolved. The situation in Albania was still critical, Berisha said. New Interior Minister Celal also calls for European military help.

Reports state that authorities in Tirana are working again as employees have returned to work. There is a food shortage in Tirana; it was said that the supply of grain will last for 10 days and the government was said to ask for help to prevent hunger.

It was said that the population in Tirana returned to normal work and also showed an interest in politics again which had not been the case during previous days. This interest according to correspondents was to be seen in a gathering of several thousand people in front of the bureau of Albanian Socialist Party. The Socialist Party leader, Fatos Nano (escaped from prison some days ago and amnestied by Berisha yesterday) was interviewed: he also appealed to the population not to seek refuge abroad. He said he is not demanding Berisha's resignation under all circumstances but Berisha should keep out of the attempts to solve the problems. Nano demanded free and fair elections as soon as possible and will be a candidate for presidency. Nano is a professor for Marxism, as was mentioned in the news.

By now, about 6,000 refugees arrived in Italy (reports gave figures between 5,000 and 7,000 refugees). Italian authorities complained, however, that there was an increasing number of criminals among them. Coast guard searches the refugees landing. A naval vessel with 800 refugees aboard stranded near the Italian coast due to a lack of fuel.

In Tirana, journalists of state owned media were shown to carry back computers and other equipment which, as was said, they had brought to safe places before to protect them from the outraged populace.

In Durres, criminals are said to offer ferry passages to Italy for something like 600 US$ and shoot at people who cannot pay this while police just stand and watch. There were pictures which showed these scenes in the port of Durres.

Radio reports during the day announced that armed criminal gangs hold up food transports in the Northern parts of Albania. This was not repeated in TV news.

Bulgaria: A report from Bulgaria said that the situation there was chaotic: inflation came up to 342% last year. There are 50 soup kitchens in Sofia to feed the poor but this was by far not sufficient, whereas the number of soup kitchens in the country was even more unsufficient. Old-age pension due to inflation are between 3-6 US$ a month - this is the price of one sausage. Bread is rationed and will only be given out when a passport is presented. The health system has broken down due to lack of medicine, disinfectants, doctors operate without wearing gloves etc. Homes for old people can barely manage to buy enough food to keep people alive. At the same time, a room in a big hotel in Sofia costs about the same amount a couple living on old-age pension will receive in THREE years. Another report added that International Monetary Fund was willing to help Bulgaria to overcome its economical crisis and help to pay off the debts of US$ 10 billion, but will insist on closing several state owned factories as they are unprofitable. This cure may work out as to the debts, but it will aggravate the living conditions for the population. Reports indicated that the situation may be so bad that Bulgaria may become a second Albania.

LATEST NEWS: Just heard on TV: in the Albanian town of Balji (sp?) delegates of several Albanian REGIONS (they did not say towns, but regions; this was not specified, however) met to discuss their strategy. [Todays news reported about 12 Albanian towns handing an Ultimatum to Berisha - comment by A-Infos Group] They decided there will be a march on Tirana if Berisha does not resign by Thursday this week. They expressed their confidence in Prime Minister Fino but warned hom not to co-operate with Berisha. They had pictures from the meeting which must rather be called a conference according to the material shown with, as I guessed, maybe some 2-300 participants. It was a rather short sequence, but there were no arms to be seen with the delegates, what they showed was a discussion.

That's it for today, catkawin ## CrossPoint v3.11 ##

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