Albanian police launched a probe yesterday (29 May) into the alleged poisoning of several dozen opposition supporters by a mysterious white powder at a weekend rally.
According to local media, a white powder was seen in the air as Democratic Party leader Lulzim Basha spoke at an outdoor gathering of 140 supporters Sunday (28 May).
Several dozen people complained of “skin rash, burning eyes and skin irritation… as well as vomiting”, the health ministry said.
Respiratory problems were also reported.
The alleged poisoning, which the Democratic Party called a “deliberate action”, occurred against a backdrop of tensions between the centre right Democratic Party and the ruling Socialist Party of Prime Minister Edi Rama.
Earlier this month, opposition leaders gave into international pressure and abandoned plans to boycott next month’s parliamentary election.
Basha complained of eye irritation but left hospital quickly and took part in another rally later Sunday.
He urged the authorities to launch an “in-depth and impartial” investigation to identify who was responsible.
Rama said he hoped the opposition supporters would recover quickly and also urged a “quick discovery” of the causes of the incident.
Albanians go to the polls on 25 June in an election seen as a test of Balkan country’s potential future European Union membership.
Tirana is officially a candidate to join the bloc but has not yet started negotiations.