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Riots Flare in One Town; Calm Reported Elsewhere

February 28, 1992

TIRANA, Albania (AP) _ At least six people were injured by gunfire in an Albanian town Friday in the latest food riots to sweep across the hungry nation.

Crowds in Peqin, 37 miles south of Tirana, emptied two food warehouses Friday and set them afire, said Fadil Canaj, Albania’s vice minister of public order. He said three policemen and three other people were hurt in an exchange of gunfire.

Earlier in the week, two people were crushed to death in Pogradec, in eastern Albanian, as thousands of people raided and emptied warehouses. Another person was killed in the central town of Lushnje. The towns were reportedly quiet Friday.

The interim government held an emergency meeting Thursday and warned of unspecified tough measures to halt the wave of lawlessness, state radio reported.

The deprived citizens in Europe’s poorest country are struggling with a catastrophic winter and the legacy of 46 years of Communist economic mismanagement.

The country has been getting by almost entirely on foreign food donations. Angry citizens often are responding to rumors the food is being hoarded by former Communists, who still hold power in much of the country.

The Democratic Party, the country’s biggest opposition group, accuses the former Communists of deliberately inciting anarchy to disrupt national elections scheduled for March 22.

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