In spite of the announcement of the Democratic Party to hold a large opposition protest in front of the Prime Ministry on May 13, the previously announced annual Tirana Gay (P)Ride will continue as planned.
In a press release, organizers Xheni Karaj of the Alliance against LGBT Discrimination and Kristi Pinderi of ProLGBT, declared that they have coordinated the event with the organizers of the opposition protest:
This meeting [with the PD] took place in a cooperative spirit. During the meeting, the LGBTI activists received the guarantee from the Chairman of the Democratic Party, Lulzim Basha, that there will be no incidents or threats to the safe conduct of this activity by the opposition supporters. It was agreed that the most suitable time for the Parade to take place, would be 10:00 am on Saturday, May 13th.
The Ride will depart at the Palace of Congresses, the participants will ride along the Boulevard and turn to the left at Ismail Qemali Street, will enter the former block area (Ibrahim Rugova Street) and as it was foreseen and will continue along the Lana river, will turn at the bridge of Vasil Shanto school and will continue again along Lana River.
It is important to understand that public space belongs to everyone, and nobody can stop the basic human right of assembly and our right of expression and free speech.
Several LGBTI activists from all over the region will participate in the Pride together with supporters and members of the LGBTI community from Albania and representatives of the international community in Albania.
This is the sixth year that the Tirana Gay (P)Ride has been organized. It is the oldest LGBTI pride event in country, held for the first time in 2011, when several smoke bombs were thrown at a small group of biking activists.
In spite of is electoral promises in 2013, the Rama government has consistently failed to improve the lives of Albanian LGBTI people, blocking several legal reforms drafted with support of the Council of Europe.
The European Social Survey from 2013 indicated that Albania was the most homophobic country of Europe, with 53% of Albanians believing that “gays and lesbians should not be free to live life as they wish.”