In very early morning hours today, Albanian police returned for a third time to forcefully evict citizens and demolish their homes in Tirana. The demolition is taking place in the Bregu i Lumit area of Tirana and will make way for the extension of the New Boulevard.
Police didn’t allow journalists to report and kept them at a distance while heavy police forces surrounded the area. Journalists said that this time the police seemed to have a well-thought plan to keep the area isolated from the public and media. Several inhabitants said that police confiscated their phones to prohibit them from shooting videos and taking photos.
Images and videos from the scene show that police exercised violence against inhabitants as well as on opposition’s former MPs who were there to support the evicted people.
In a video, Chief of Police Station N.4 Agim Hoxha is seen hitting a woman in the face.
Another video shows police strangling former opposition MP Klevis Balliu, who was allegedly trying to have the police let an inhabitant take his home appliances out of his house. The inhabitant had allegedly been in detention since last week for resisting authorities attempt to demolish his house.
According to reports from the ground, the government plans to demolish 7 of the 38 houses today which will open the way for the extension of the main boulevard in Tirana. At least one house was demolished today.
Last week residents tried to block the bulldozers in an attempt to protect their homes amidst the presence of a large number of police, special forces officers, tear gas fired at them and several arrests. Three citizens were also hospitalized due to the injuries they sustained. Police blocked journalists from entering the area and didn’t allow cameras to shoot.
Whilst the 38 houses were mainly built illegal several decades ago, citizens have been undergoing a government procedure of legalization, which through payment of fees and submission of documents allows for their homes and rights to be recognized. When the plans for the New Boulevard were announced, the government cancelled the legalization processes and refused to give the citizens any compensation for their property.
Residents of several areas in Tirana (see here, here, here, here, here) have been resisting against what they consider to be government’s illegal demolition of their houses in order to implement corruptive projects.
Last year, following decisions and pending decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) amounting to hundreds of millions of Euros in compensations for expropriations, the Albanian government sought to blackmail the Albanian judge at the ECHR over the pending cases.
Exit.al has earlier explained the guidebook on how Prime Minister Rama has illegally avoided compensations for expropriations.