BONN, JULY 3 -- Rioting broke out in Albania's capital and diplomats said today that hundreds of people stormed foreign embassies there trying to flee Europe's last bastion of hard-line communism.
Italy's Foreign Ministry, in a statement in Rome, said Albanian security forces used firearms to try to turn back the refugees. A Greek government communique reported shooting and unconfirmed accounts of "victims among the population."
The Albanian government confirmed the rioting and acknowledged that people were wounded at one embassy.
A statement by the official ATA news agency said 300 to 400 people, including "vagabonds, former prisoners . . . as well as some deceived adolescents," tried to storm the unspecified embassy Monday night.
The statement, telexed to the Associated Press in Vienna, said the crowd threw stones and bricks at police, blocked traffic and broke shop windows. Security forces restored order and detained people, it said, and some were "slightly wounded."
Diplomats said about 200 Albanians sought refuge in at least a dozen embassies since late last week. The greatest concentration, 86, appeared to be in the West German compound.
Large numbers of Albanian security forces patrolled Tirana, the capital, today and about 150 officers were guarding the West German and Turkish embassies, the Austria Press Agency reported. It quoted Western diplomats as saying anti-government demonstrations had hit Tirana in the last few days.
Turkish Ambassador Teoman Surenkok said 26 of the 32 Albanians who fled to his embassy left after the Albanian government allowed them to leave the country, the Anatolia News Agency reported.
The Czechoslovak news agency CTK said representatives of the Czechoslovak Foreign Ministry began talks with Albanian authorities to try to resolve its embassy's occupation.
One Western diplomat in Tirana said the surge of refugees started late last week when 25 Albanians entered the Polish Embassy. A host country cannot legally violate embassy premises.
The developments were reminiscent of events last year, when East Germans crowded Western embassies in Eastern Europe and touched off the popular revolution in their country.
Albania has vigorously resisted the pro-democracy movements that have radically altered other East European nations. The Albanian government of Communist President Ramiz Alia, who has ruled the country of 3.2 million since the death of Stalinist leader Enver Hoxha in 1985, has made only modest changes.
Greece's government released a statement today saying, "According to other reports which have been impossible to confirm up to now, shots were heard last night and it is rumored that there were victims among the population."
The Albanian news agency said that "with the immediate interference of the forces of order and the working people of the capital, the persons who violated order and tranquility dispersed. There were slightly wounded on both parties. The people kept a number of them for the necessary investigations."
The agency called Monday night's disturbance "an alarming situation" aimed at impairing "the good relations existing with the friendly states represented in Tirana, and to distort the image of Albania in the world."
A Foreign Ministry spokesman in Bonn, speaking on condition of anonymity, said 86 refugees were in the West German Embassy tonight.
Guards fired on one group of four who fled into the compound Sunday night, wounding one man in the leg, said Hanns Schumacher, deputy Foreign Ministry spokesman. Seventy-nine people fled to the embassy Monday night and early today, West German diplomats said.
One group crashed a truck into the German compound's walls, others fled in through that hole and another group crashed a truck into the Greek compound next door as Albanian guards fired on them, West German diplomats said. In the confusion, some Albanians fled into the Greek compound and some into the West German Embassy, a ministry spokesman said.
"I heard more than 50 shots when they were trying to get into the West German Embassy," the Western diplomat in Tirana said.
Three more gained entry into the West German Embassy later today, the German spokesman said.
Asylum seekers also used a truck to break into the Italian Embassy, the Western diplomat said. An Italian Foreign Ministry spokesman said about 20 refugees were seeking asylum there.
West Germany summoned the Albanian ambassador to the Foreign Ministry to protest "the brutal behavior" of Albanian authorities. West Germany said no refugees would be forced out of the compound. Italy made a similar protest.
Hungary's MTI news agency said four Albanians were in Hungary's embassy, seeking permission to go abroad. Refugees were also reportedly holed up at the embassies of France, Algeria, Bulgaria, China and Egypt. Albania broke diplomatic relations with the United States in 1946 and with Moscow in 1961.