In a meeting Prime Minister Edi Rama was holding yesterday with university students, professors, and deans, where higher education policies were discussed, two students from the Movement for the University (Lëvizja për Universitetin), holding a banner reading “Enough with the rip-off of students,” accused the PM of raising higher education fees.
Within seconds, the banner was ripped away by security personnel, who also forcibly removed the two students from the meeting room. After the two girls’ removal, PM Rama called them “failed students,” to the laughter of the rest of the students in the room.
The forcible removal of the two students was condemned by the Democratic Party. MP Albana Vokshi, also Chairwoman of the Media and Education Parliamentary Commission, stated that the order to use force against protesting students, the arrogance, insults and humiliation by the Prime Minister against students and their concerns are intolerable and must be condemned.
This is not the first time that students of the Movement for University, who have opposed the reform in education from the start, protest against the Rama government and its reform in education.
On 2 November 2015, a group of students from the Movement for University threw eggs at the car of PM Rama. Eight of them were arrested on the spot. On 20 March 2017, the Tirana Penal Court found them guilty and sentenced them to two months in prison. The residue of a single egg was administered as material evidence.
On 18 November 2016, Mirela Ruko, an activist with the Movement for University poured tomato sauce over the Minister of Education Lindita Nikolla, as a form of protest against the reform in higher education. In the aftermath of the event, the activist was accompanied to the Tirana Police Station No. 1, where she was kept for more than 10 hours.