Albania: University students spurn talks with prime minister

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — The prime minister of Albania has failed to convince protesting public university students to sit down to talk about their demands.

Students said on Monday their demands must be met first. Those include cutting tuition fees in half, doubling the budget for education and a greater student presence on decision-making boards.

Prime Minister Edi Rama said Monday in a video on Facebook that the government was ready for dialogue, but autonomous university boards have authority to meet or reject most of the demands, including setting tuition.

As the weeklong protest continued, students blocked a main street of Albania’s Education Ministry in Tirana. They called on political parties to stay out of the dispute and there was talk of students starting a hunger strike.

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