Mayor Veliaj’s insulting attacks on anyone who dares to disagree with or protest projects of the municipality or government have become common and not surprising.
Yesterday, on 13 October, Mayor Veliaj sent a public message to citizens protesting the demolition of their houses in the so-called Astir Neighborhood in proximity to the Tirana outer ring road. Veliaj called them “cavemen”.
“So what? Shall we remain in the Stone Age? Why? Because some people have who have occupied [land] there do not accept the compensation we are giving them? There is no way!
Even the Roma people are living better today […] Let’s put it bluntly: Even they have become normal humans.
These are clearly people who do not feel they belong to this city. Because someone who has no roots in this city and doesn’t see his future in this city is attacking in a barbarian way the workers who earn little money so that they can raise their children.
How could I have explained today to the former Salzburg Governor? The whole Europe was here today to see the developments in Tirana. How could I tell the Governor that a part of us belong to cavemen political parties that tear buildings and violate people who work for this city? What could I say to someone coming from Lyon – to someone coming from Barcelona? Shall I tell them that we still have primitive species who represent political parties and violate people who work for this city? This country is going to get civilized.”
In August 2018, Mayor Veliaj called on the artists and activists protesting against the Special Law for the National Theater with the same arrogance and disgust. He called them “a band of clowns”.
A noisy minority opposes every project in Tirana. They shout loudly to create an image, but, if you look closely, they are part of a chronic circus, a travelling circus that wanders the city: former oil executives, former failed politicians, former civil society activists who, though they are 50–60 years old, still hang out with kids. So, it is a band of clowns that is there whenever the circus comes to town. And since the circus is in town and is taking place at the Theater, this band of clowns immediately makes itself available.
In July 2017, when citizens were protesting the increase in their water bills, Veliaj called them “dogs”:
I will not give up. Even if all of Tirana’s dogs come after me, I will not give up something that is right and will save this city.
In February 2016, when citizens protested the illegal construction of a playground within the Artificial Lake Park, Veliaj called them “vandals”:
Today, a small group of people, acting like vandals, involved themselves in massive damaging of public property, the common property of every citizen of Tirana, by attacking and ruining various objects in order to hinder, once again, the construction of the Children’s Playground. A noisy minority is opposing the aims of the majority who want the city to make progress.