Many of us will have heard the news of what has been happening in Tunisia and Egypt. Last Tuesday I got news of similar things happening in Albania from the leader of one of the churches we work with there - I've included his report at the end of this blog. Please be praying for Albania, and in particular for the churches we work with over there. I'm reminded of a quote from Martin Luther King's letter from Birmingham jail :
"In those days (speaking of the early church) the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores (the fundamental moral views) of society."
Let's pray for churches, both here and in Albania, which transform society.
Last Friday (21st Jan) the opposition organised a protest outside the PM's offices in Tirane. Many of the protestors started to throw rocks at the riot police, and to attack them with sticks.
The police initially protected themselves, but when things started to get out of hand they charged to push back the crowds. Water canons and tear gas were used. The area was cleared.
Angered protesters then set fire to various vehicles parked nearby (silly place to park!) and then returned to the PM's offices where they continued to provoke the police as before.
Some police began to throw stones back at the rioters. Some rioters then climbed on the wall of the PM's offices. The police allowed them to stay.
All this happened in 50 minutes...we watched it live on TV.
About an hour later...the protestors forced open the gates and tried to drive a Mercedez Benz through the concrete barrier. The national guard shot warning shots. Rioters continued to pelt the national guard with stones. 3 protesters were shot and killed and a journalist shot in the hand.
Many police are in hospital, as are many civilians...one from Lezhe is in a coma.
The PM has awarded all the national guard and police on duty 1 months pay bonus.
The chief prosecutor has suspended 6 of the nationl guard.....the police are refusing to arrest them...the PM has accused the chief prosecutor/attorney general of plotting to overthrow the government.
As I write the chief prosecutor has appeared at a press conference with the US ambassador, who seems to be supporting her.
The oppostion plans further protests on Friday.....the US ambassador has called for this meeting to be postponed until an inquiry is done. The ruling party has organised a meeting for Wednesday or Saturday...the US ambassador has also called for this to be postponed.
The PM has stated that his national guard will shoot again if similiary attacked.