A local leader of the opposition Democratic Party and two other people were shot and killed Tuesday during an anti-Communist demonstration in a northern Albanian town, officials said.
The Interior Ministry confirmed reports by the opposition Democratic Party that three people were killed during the protest in Shkodra. It said 23 people - 12 police and 11 civilians - were injured. The opposition quoted a doctor as saying up to 30 people were hurt.The Interior Ministry said the anti-Communist protesters had broken into party headquarters in Shkodra and set it afire. But the opposition said the local party leader, Arben Broci, was shot in the back as he tried to calm the crowd.
It was the first violence tied to the small Balkan country's first multiparty elections in more than 60 years. In Tirana on Tuesday, officials released final results of Sunday's elections.
The Party of Labor - the official name of the Communists - won 162 of the 250 seats, the Central Election Commission reported. That was in line with unofficial results a day earlier.
The Democrats won 65 seats, an ethnic Greek minority party won three seats and the National Veterans Committee, a Communist front organization, won one.
Runoff elections will be held next Sunday and April 14 for 19 other seats.
In the capital of Tirana, riot police with plastic shields, helmets and batons tried to persuade a crowd outside Democratic Party headquarters to disperse. The crowd did not leave, but despite the tense atmosphere police did not use force.
Genc Pollo, spokesman for the Democratic Party, said Broci, the Shkodra Democratic Party leader, was shot in the back, apparently by someone inside the Communist Party headquarters.
At the time, Broci was trying to disperse the early morning protest outside the Communists' building, he said.
The Interior Ministry statement did not confirm or deny Pollo's version of how Broci died, but said the anti-Communist demonstrators were endangering the lives of people inside the party building.
"In these conditions, the police were obliged to open fire," the statement said, adding: "The situation is tense."
The Democrats identified the two others who died in Shkodra as Bujar Zerberi and Besnik Ceka, but it was not clear whether they were opposition officials or participants in the demonstration.
A 14-year-old boy, Shkelqim Lisi, was seriously wounded, Ben Ruka of the opposition's semi-weekly newspaper quoted the Democratic Party officials in Shkodra as saying.