The Albanian Rebellion of 1997, also known as the Albanian Unrest of 1997 (Albanian: Rebelimi i vitit 1997), or the Pyramid Crisis or (improperly) the Albanian Anarchy of 1997, was an uprising sparked by Ponzi scheme failures. Albania descended into civil disorder and violence in which the government was toppled and 2,000 people were killed.
By January 1997 the people of Albania, who had lost $1.2 billion (out of a small population of three million), took their protest to the streets. Beginning in February, thousands of citizens launched daily protests demanding reimbursement by the government, which they believed was profiting from the schemes. On 1 March, Prime Minister Aleksandër Meksi resigned and on 2 March, President Sali Berisha declared a state of emergency. On 11 March, the Socialist Party of Albania won a major victory when their leader Bashkim Fino was appointed prime minister. However, the transfer of power did not halt the unrest, and protests spread to northern Albania. Although the government quelled revolts in the north, the ability of the government and military to maintain order began to collapse, especially in the southern half of Albania, which fell under the control of rebels and Socialist forces.
All major population centers were engulfed in demonstrations by 13 March and foreign countries began to evacuate their citizens. These evacuations included Operation Libelle and Operation Silver Wake. The United Nations Security Council, in Resolution 1101, authorized a force of 7,000 on 28 March to direct relief efforts and to restore order to Albania. The UN feared the unrest would spread beyond Albania's borders and send refugees throughout Europe. On 15 April, the 7,000 troops launched Operation Sunrise, an Italian-led mission that helped restore rule of law. After the unrest, over 25 000 guns were transported to Kosovo and the guerrilla forces of the ethnic Albanian, Kosovo Liberation Army received considerable armaments.