At the same day when Tirana citizens and activists were protesting against the destruction of green spaces in the capital, Prime Minister Edi Rama and Mayor Erion Veliaj countered with showing off green spaces that for many years have part of the city as “recent” work.
In the morning, Prime Minister Rama published a video on Facebook showing the small park next to the Orthodox Cathedral, with the following caption:
I wish you a great day with this space that was before blocked and fenced, and today a park and more breathing space for the citizens of Tirana.
In fact, the space around the Orthodox Cathedral has always been a green space. From 2005 to 2012 it was indeed fenced because of the construction work on the church, but once it was inaugurated the space was made accessible again. The 2013 “renovations” of the Rama government were minimal, while at the same time, an unknown construction company is building an illegal extension of unknown size to the PS party headquarters adjacent to the park. The construction is fenced off with Veliaj’s Skënderbeg Square fences, suggesting the extension is approved by the municipality.
Rather than using online propaganda, Mayor Veliaj has chosen not to confront the citizens whose park he is destroying, but rather to “inaugurate” existing green spaces. Yesterday, Mayor Veliaj, accompanied by a representative of telecom company Tring, opened a playing field near the Selman Stërmasi Stadium. According to Veliaj, this was the 18th of such parks he opened in Tirana. However, the space itself has always been a green, public space.
During his tenure as Mayor of Tirana, Veliaj as presided over the destruction of green space rather than the creation of it.