Factory workers stayed home Thursday after the democratic opposition called a general strike to protest the deaths of anti-communist protesters in a police crackdown.
But the overall response to the strike call was mixed. While many factories appeared idle, the capital was bustling and shops were open for business.The number of people who died in Tuesday's violence in the northern city of Shkodra rose to four Thursday following the death of a man wounded in the fighting, an opposition spokesman said.
The communists won weekend multiparty elections that were the country's first in more than 60 years, getting strong support in the backward countryside, where most Albanians live.
The opposition Democratic Party prevailed in all major cities, and called the election unfair because the ruling party controls the media and didn't give the Democrats enough time to campaign effectively in rural areas.
At a large tractor factory on the outskirts of Tirana Thursday, a few of the 5,000 workers kept conveyor belts running. Some said they had been pressured to work by their communist boss but most said they needed the money.
Gramoz Pashko, co-leader of the Democratic Party, had urged workers in vital sectors such as bread and milk supply, electricity and transport to turn up for work.
In Washington, the State Department said the communists had an unfair advantage in the elections, having at the very least restricted the opposition's ability to campaign effectively.