January 1997

04.01 “Gjallica” counters closed for two weeks.

05.01 Socialists for the first time analyze fraud.

06.01 Transparency Commission led by Bardhyl Peling starts its activities.

10.01 – The government begins to sue two large finance companies, Xhaferri and Populi. In the meantime the World Bank and the International Monetary fund intervene to put the brakes on speculation.

11.01 Closure of foundations “Populli” and Xhaferri”

14.01 TV channel “Teleblu” starts transmitting in Vlora. Presidency of the Democratic Party supports the initiative of its members to exclude Azem Hajdëron from the parliamentary group.

15.01 Protests erupt in Tirana, after news of bankruptcy of the pyramid “Sude”. “Gjallica” announces: Money back on 6.02.97.

16.01 First Revolt in Vlora. Protesters seek meeting with Fitim Gerxhalli. The government “freezes” the money of foundations.

18.01 National front of Vlora requests the removal of the Chief Commissioner, the head of the Court and the Chief of Crime of Vlora. Governor of the National Bank of Albania, Kristaq Lunik, expressed in the press (Rilindja Demokratike) his standpoint against pyramid schemes. Collected assets of K.K.P.D. are seized. Azem Hajdari forcibly prevented from taking part in the asset.

19.01 About 3000 creditors from Sude rally in Tirana. Police interfere with brute force, many protesters are injured

19.01 – In Tirana riot police intervene to disperse a crowd of over five thousand furious people. The Socialist Party had asked people to participate in this march in the hope of appointing themselves leaders of a peaceful protest movement. But the demonstration, like those that followed, was to make all the parties abandon any hope of controlling the explosion of the people’s rage. – In Berat, police, courts, ministerial and party office buildings are stoned. Two hundred demonstrators are arrested. Parliament asks that the army intervene to protect State buildings.

21.01 Fitim Gerxhalli prohibited. News is denied by the Ministry of Interior denied.

22.01 Bosses of foundations “Populli” and “Xhaferri” detained. Selfo in parliament: Meksi to resign.

23.01 PS in its asset declares the opposition will lead popular protests. Analyst Edi Rama is brutally beaten by anonymous attackers. Parliament approved the law “On prevention of pyramidal borrowing schemes”

24.01 Court declares bankruptcy of “Gjallica.” Unconfirmed news. Crowd consisting primarily of “Xhaferri” and “Populli” creditors clash with police, attack and burn Lushnje institutions. Police arrested 30 demonstrators. The government meets to discuss with 30 demonstrators. The government meets to discuss the created situation. In Vlorë, the Greek Ambassador Prevendurakis meets with the head of the region and that of the municipality.

24.01 – In Lushnjë the town hall is set on fire during a demonstration. Two thousand people build barricades to prevent the fire brigade from intervening.

25.01 The revolt destroys the state institutions in Gramsh, Berat and Belsh. The situation in Lushnja intensifies. The emissary of the state Tritan Shehu kidnapped, Berisha invites parliamentary parties to the table in Tryenzë, PS absent.

25.01 – In Lushnjë, the vice premier is beaten and held inside the town stadium by force; the demonstrators ask for the head of a finance society, Rrapush Xhaferri, in exchange for his freedom. Some journalists are attacked by the crowd and robbed of their cameras, etc.  Clashes take place in Berat and barricades are erected. The town hall is burnt down and the crowd also try to set fire to the main police station. Clashes also take place at Elbasan, Librazhd, Laç, Kuçovë, Memaliaj and Tepelenë.

26.01 The town hall of Vlore is attacked and set on fire, the police headquarters attacked as well. PD building in Korca set on fire. Town hall and Albetroli burned in Fier, police headquarters also attacked. Protests begin in Debar and Burrel. The national road in Fushe Kruje blocked. Parliament urges the President to engage temporarily restricted military unit to protect the public and state institutions and the free movement on national roads. President Sali Berisha issued Order No. 25, for a limited engagement of the military units to defend the state and public institutions and the free movement on national roads.

26 – Three thousand people attempt an assault on parliament following a demonstration in Tirana. In Valona (Vlorë), a bomb is thrown at the police during a protest march. The town hall is set on fire.

27.01 Bardhor prison revolt in Kavaja. Two prisoners are killed. PS, PAD, PSD seek technocratic government. One of the leaders of the SP, Ndre Legisi, massacred by unknown persons.

27.01 – In Tirana the army intervene patrolling the city streets. In Peshkopi about a hundred people attack the police station with stones. Six policemen are killed, then the rebels set fire to the town hall offices. In Gavaja prisoners in Barwhor prison begin a revolt which is later suppressed. Two prisoners are killed.

28.01 Numerous arrests in Vlorë among those who burned and attacked institutions. PS leader arrested in Vlora, Edward Alushi. 10 opposition parties form the “Forum for Democracy” that urges the continuation of the protests, the creation of a technical government and early elections. In “Forum” Kurt Kola, Fatos Lubonja, Daut Gumeni head forum.

28.01 – In Tirana, a demonstration in favour of the government is organised.

29.01 – Berisha accuses the opposition party of organising the riots, and arrests four militants. The government promises that repayment of citizens will begin on February 5.

30.1 The tense situation persists in Vlorë: More and more armed “creditors” appear in public.

30.01 – Ten opposition parties form a coalition called the Forum for Democracy, demanding Berisha’s resignation from the government as he is considered responsible for the economic chaos, and the constitution of a government of technocrats to manage the social crisis in the wait for early elections.

Background information on controversial elections in 1996

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