Anger as PM’s guards are cleared over fatal shootings

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An ALBANIAN court has cleared two state guards of killing four people during an anti-government protest in 2011, to the dismay of opposition politicians.

Members of the opposition Socialist party stormed out of parliament in protest at a verdict they said showed those in power could get away with murder.

Four protesters were killed as shots were fired from inside the compound of the prime minister’s building, as a protest against government corruption and election fraud took place outside.

The prosecution was seeking sentences of 23 and 25 years for the guards, whose job it is to protect government buildings and officials. The defence said they had fired warning shots but that the bullets had been deflected.

The deaths deepened a rift between government and opposition and halted reforms needed to take Albania closer to EU membership.