Yesterday students occupied several faculties of the University of Tirana. They boycotted lectures, blocked the entrance and demanded the university administration to support their struggle.
Police entered faculties in violation of the law, in an attempt to evict the occupying students. Art.5 of the Law on Higher Education prescribes that “Intervention of public order authorities in academic institutions is carried out after a request or permit by the leading authority of the high education institution”. Police had neither such request nor a permit yesterday.
After midnight private security guards in these faculties attempted to forcibly get students out and to unblock the entrance to the buildings. Students resisted their attempts and stayed in their university overnight.
In early hours this morning the state police surrounded the occupied faculties. They were able to forcibly evict students from the Faculty of Economics. Students claimed police exercised violence on them. The Faculty of Law is still occupied and students are resisting state police pressure.
Here are some excerpts from Faculty of Economics students’ interviews, as reported by OraNews TV:
“Students were violated. This situation is not over. That’s it.”
“They should be ashamed to have used violence on us! The state police ordered the private security guards to take us out by force. How come they can give such orders? The university administrator told us the police were not allowed to enter without a permit by university given there is no violence inside. What was the reason police entered the university? We are here in peace, and this is our university and it is our right to stay here. While our friends are experiencing [police] violence inside, we are blocked from entering.”
“They strangled me and didn’t let me enter inside. Where were security guards to protect students? Police has no right to enter, let alone use violence on students! We will stay here! This is our faculty! We have decided to occupy it!”
“I was inside. A police officer beat me.”
“We have been occupying the faculty since yesterday. Now the state police violates the law and enters the faculty. Male and female students are dragged out. This protest has been peaceful from the start, now they are ruining its image by using violence. All police officers using violence today will be denounced to the prosecution.”
Yesterday students had demanded the university to support their following demands:
– Postponing the end of the academic season until the government meets their eight demands.
– Extending the deadline for payment of tuition fees;
– Extending the deadline for applications for scholarships;
– Provision by university of a detailed plan to meet students’ demands under its competency;
– Issuing of a decision that protesting students will not suffer academic penalties because of the boycott.
Following their demands, students who have been protesting for more than a month today got the state police surround their faculties and unlawfully exercise violence on them.