24 Jan 2011

Albania issues arrest warrants for guards

5:39 am on 24 January 2011

The public prosecutor in Albania has issued arrest warrants for six members of the National Guard, accused of killing three people during protests against the government.

The three men were shot outside Prime Minister Sali Berisha's office on Friday.

Television footage appeared to show shots coming from inside the prime minister's compound, the BBC reports.

Mr Berisha has accused the opposition Socialist party of fomenting the violence and attempting a coup.

But Socialist leader Edi Rama said the government was responsible for the deaths, and promised to keep up pressure against Mr Berisha.

In Friday's unrest, thousands of protesters pelted Mr Berisha's office and police with stones, eggs, banners and umbrellas.

Police fired tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades in response.

The arrest warrants were issued against members of the national guard accused of "exceeding their competence".

Police have yet to act on the warrants.

Funerals were held on Saturday for those killed.