Albanians protest after police shot dead a man for violating coronavirus curfew

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TIRANA (Reuters) - Police used tear gas late on Wednesday to disperse hundreds of Albanians protesting the killing by police of a young man who authorities said had violated an overnight curfew imposed to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

A 25-year-old man identified by Albanian media as Klodian Rasha was killed early on Tuesday in what police described as an excessive use of force by an officer during a curfew introduced to prevent the surge of COVID-19 cases.

The police had first said that Rasha failed to obey a police officer’s order to stop and that he had carried a weapon. But later the police said the man was holding an object but not a weapon, as initially reported.

Protesters who were demanding the resignation of the interior minister threw objects at his ministry and set Christmas trees on fire as police used tear gas to disperse the crowd, a Reuters witness said.

Two police officers and a journalist were reported slightly injured.

The police officer who allegedly killed the man was arrested and an investigation was launched.

“The police officer did not act according to the law while using his firearm,” Albanian police said in a statement.

Albanian government has introduced different measures, including a curfew, to prevent rising number of COVID-19 infections.

Reporting by Florion Goga, writing by Fatos Bytycy, editing by Daria Sito-Sucic and