Albania. At the beginning of the year, violent riots broke out in Shkodër, northern Albania, which is a stronghold for former President Sali Berisha’s Democratic Party, Partia Demokratike të Shqipërisë (PDS). The riots were turned down after armed men released 60 prisoners – half of them charged with murder – and burnt down the town hall as well as looted shops and banks. The uprising was triggered by all judging by the fact that a large number of PDS supporters had been arrested. In the spring, a wave of violence followed, which according to the authorities, required at least 350 lives. The situation remained tense during the summer, not least because of the ongoing fighting in the Kosovo province of southern Serbia between Yugoslav security forces and the Kosovo Albanian guerrilla. The battles led, among other things. to tens of thousands of Kosovo Albanians flee to Albania The situation was further sharpened in September when the opposition with Berisha at the head called for large government hostile demonstrations despite the government’s ban. The demonstrations degenerated into riots and raids in the capital Tirana.
According to Countryaah, the capital of Albania is Tirana. Prime Minister Fatos Nano, who led a coalition government with four other parties besides his Socialist Party, Partia Socialiste e Shqipërisë (PSS), resigned and was succeeded by the mere 30-year-old Pandeli Majko.
A proposal for a new constitution was adopted late in the fall in a referendum following some political quarrels.
Life in Albania was characterized by crime, and the mafia could spread. Domestic production was almost non-existent, and most of it was imported with money from foreign aid, from Albanians who emigrated and from criminal activities. Where corn, cereals and vegetables were previously grown, cannabis was smuggled out in many places that were smuggled out of the country for illegal sale in the rest of Europe. Human trafficking was another lucrative income for various criminal leagues. It was conducted mainly from the port city of Vlorë, from which Albanian, Asian, Arab and African refugees were transported across the Adriatic to Italy. Another illegal source of income was arms smuggling, mainly to the violence-stricken province of Kosovo in southern Serbia on the northeastern border of Albania. Thousands of Kosovo Albanian refugees have fled across the mountains to Albania, where they live in refugee camps. International aid broadcasts are rarely robbed before they reach the refugee camps.
During the 1997 uprising, nearly 1 million automatic weapons were looted from military and police stations around the country. Those who have not been smuggled abroad are still in civilian hands. The Albanian government therefore asked the UN at the end of the year for assistance in collecting arms.