5 Citizens Arrested, Others Hospitalized and Rama’s Motorcade Blocked in Protests

Police arrested five citizens protesting government’s decision to demolish their houses. Several others were hospitalized following the police violence exercised on them.

Protesters from the Astir area of Tirana blocked the way so that it was not possible for Prime Minister Edi Rama’s motorcade to pass. Regular and special police forces came to disperse them. Several citizens were injured in the ensuing clash.

Following the arrests, protesters moved to the police station demanding their release.

The government has planned to demolish more than 300 houses in the area to open the way for Tirana’s outer ring road project. Owners of illegally built houses have been protesting for six months demanding compensation. Building houses without a permit has been a common occurrence in post-communist Albania for decades.

Inhabitants of this area had completed procedures several years ago to legalize their houses in accordance with legal requirements in place but the government cancelled their applications. Now it wants to raze their houses and implement a project that was found to be corrupt. The media discovered that Dunwell Haberman, the company winning the tender for one of the three lots of this project, was a ghost company and it had forged all documents. In few weeks after it had been registered using forged documents, the government had given Dunwell Haberman two tenders worth € 30 million.