Funeral rally turns fury on Berisha

Permet - Albanian rebels who seized the southern town of Permet began to bury their dead in a funeral that swelled into a protest rally, with crowds demanding President Sali Berisha's resignation. About 3,000 people shouting "Down with Berisha, down with the murderer" marched to the cemetery, where youths fired in the air with Kalashnikov rifles before a school teacher and a young father were buried.

The crowd paused to shout anti-government slogans in front of the prefecture hall, where a pool of blood lay on the floor. Locals said this was where the 24-year-old father of a young child was shot. The rebels took control of Permet on Sunday and vowed not to surrender their weapons until Mr Berisha resigned. Five people were killed and six injured in the fighting, hours before Mr Berisha struck a deal with opposition parties to hold early elections.

The parents of Eduart Theodori, head of Mr Berisha's Democratic Party in Permet, were killed by soldiers. Their coffins stood inside his house, where 15 women sat weeping. "When we saw things flaring up I asked my father and mother to take my two children to a nearby village," Mr Theodori said.

"When they passed by a police station the soldiers opened fire. They shot at people like they were sheep. We had given the soldiers an ultimatum to leave and as they left they sprayed bullets everywhere."

Lefteri Kiriako, a doctor at Permet hospital, said all the injured had been wounded by bullets and one was in critical condition.

A witness, Hecuran Bejollari, said: "A group of soldiers left yesterday and as they were leaving they started shooting at people in the main square. There were many dead and injured. People took guns from the police station and two barracks and we shot back."

Speakers in the main square urged the town's 12,000 people to remain calm and not fire their guns aimlessly in the air.

"We will try to find a way to calm people. A rebel council that has been elected will distribute food, gas and other necessities," said the mayor, Spartak Kondi. "We will return our weapons when Berisha resigns." Most public buildings in the town had been sprayed with bullets and the police station was burning. The town's two army barracks had been looted but it was unclear how many weapons were taken.

The rebels have turned down Mr Berisha's offer of amnesty if they give back thousands of weapons, including tanks and heavy artillery , seized from state arsenals.

Journalists driving from the rebel-held town of Gjirokaster found no roadblocks on the way to Permet on the main highway south-east from rebel- held Tepelene. The rebels said they also controlled about nearby 36 villages.

Rebel leaders, including many former army officers, were in contact with each other in the main towns of Gjirokaster, Vlora, Sarande and Delvine to discuss Mr Berisha's deal with the opposition. They said they would also discuss it with opposition leaders in Tirana.

Mr Berisha, accused of standing by when pyramid investment schemes collapsed in January, wiping out the savings of thousands, agreed with all parties to hold elections by June.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Sport
football
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power