Albanian's opposition leader was punched in the face Tuesday while leading an anti-government protest in Tirana, the country's capital.

Sali Berisha, the 78-year-old former president and prime minister of Albania, was leading protestors toward a summit of European Union leaders and their West Balkans counterparts currently held in Tirana when a man punched him in the face. According to the Associated Press, Berisha and the crowd were protesting the administration of current Prime Minister Edi Rama.

Rama is alleged to have committed corruption and is blamed in Albania for the rise in the country's cost of living. Rama is also considered the reason why young Albanians have been leaving the country for better lives elsewhere, specifically in Western European nations.

Berisha and his family are banned from entering the U.S. after sanctions alleging "significant corruption." Berisha has denied the allegations.

Berisha was photographed after the attack with a black eye and a blood stain on his shirt. Bodyguards quickly subdued the attacker and turned him over to the police.

Berisha alleged that his attacker was a "criminal police agent" and blamed Rama.

Rama denounced the attack, saying that "violence has never been the tool to address any issue or concern" and added that the law would deal with the attacker.

The Albanian police called the attack "unprecedented and totally reprehensible" in their statement and stated that the suspect, 31-year-old Gert Shehu, has previous charges of violence and drug trafficking. But, according to the police's translated statement, the suspect "has never been and is not a criminal police agent from any State Police structure," nor has he been used as an infiltrator or informant. They did state that the suspect suffered from "psychiatric irregularities."

Shehu's mother, Ermira Kacaci, was interviewed by EuroNews Albania and apologized for her son's actions. She explained that Shehu has mental health problems and asked for politicians not to use this incident for their own agenda.

"I don't want my son's misfortune to be used by the police," said Kacaci to EuroNews Albania. "He worked as a motorcyclist, delivering pizzas. He has no friends who deal with these kinds of things. He was absolutely not used by anyone. He has had different problems. He had absolutely no political affiliations. He doesn't even go to vote. I don't know why he went to the protest today. I apologize to the man that was assaulted by him, Mr. Berisha. I don't want a political party to be involved in his [health] problems. I am very sorry that they are dealing with people's misfortunes."