Bread and Butter

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Thousands of people marched in Albanian cities this week to protest the rising cost of fuel and food in the small Balkan country, which have increased as a result of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, Euronews reported.

Fuel prices have gone up more than 40 percent in one week in Albania, where the average monthly salary is roughly $540.

Protesters have been demonstrating for days in a number of cities, including in front of Prime Minister Edi Rama’s office in the capital, Tirana. Many have been calling for lower taxes and aid programs to help low-income households.

Rama’s government implemented a “social resistance package” over the weekend but kept the mandatory taxes on crude oil products. The prime minister had vowed to prevent “any speculation” in the selling of petroleum products.

Meanwhile, Rama offered cash handouts to pensioners and other vulnerable groups and vowed to cut income tax for more than 50 percent of all private and public sector employees.

Even so, many demonstrators said the government’s moves were not enough and that protests would continue. Other countries, especially in the Middle East and Africa, are struggling with surging costs, especially those that rely heavily on Black Sea grains and vegetable oils, the Washington Post reported.

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