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Albanian students demand that tuition fees be cut in half

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TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Public university students protesting in the Albanian capital have turned down offers to negotiate with the government, saying their demands must be met first.

Students on Saturday defied the rain and increased their demands, also turning down support from the political opposition. They have blocked a main street in front of the Education Ministry and some parents have joined them.

The protesters declined to meet with Education Minister Lindita Nikolla, who noted that the government cannot solve all of their demands since tuition fees are set by the universities themselves.

The student’s main demand is to cut tuition fees in half. The cost to take bachelor courses in Albania now ranges from 20,000 to 45,000 leks ($180-$410) per year.

On a student Twitter page, the protester urged Nikolla and Prime Minister Edi Rama “to choose wisely” and accept their requests. Some people brought food and water to the students in a show of support.

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Dec. 8 is considered a national holiday in Albania, marking the date in 1990 when a student protest brought down the communist regime.

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Follow Llazar Semini on twitter: https://twitter.com/lsemini

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