On Saturday night, a group of protestors held a demonstration in front of the residence of the OSCE Ambassador to Tirana, Bernd Borchardt.
The protestors decided to congregate there after a social media post from the OSCE Presence in Albania’s Facebook account condemned the protests. The posts were allegedly perceived by protestors as biased and in support of the government.
The first post read:
The organizers of today’s protest must bear the political responsibility for the criminal violence exercised by some of their followers. Our thoughts go with the families of the wounded. The OSCE will continue to promote effective opposition and dialogue in Albania. But we completely condemn those who try to use violence as a short political path; they will fail.
OSCE’s post was followed by a second one a few minutes later, reading:
The OSCE Presence has been following this evening’s protest minute after minute. We reiterate our firm stand that violence is not the answer. Also, heavy response to violence will not help.
Protestors claimed that the Ambassador was siding with Rama and they responded by writing “Borchardt shame on you” on the wall of the entrance to his apartment.
According to Article 30 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of which Albania are signatory to, the state is obliged to prevent the deterioration of private premises as well as the deteriorating of the peace of the mission or the violation of its dignity.
In other words, the government are obliged to provide security to protect the Ambassador and his residence something which was clearly not enforced. Had Foreign Minister Rama who is responsible for the implementation of the convention actually met his obligations, the incidents on 11 May would have been prevented.
A source who works for the EU Delegation in Tirana and who has diplomatic status informed Exit.al that her property is checked by security several times a day and is under surveillance at all times. If this is the case, one must ask by Borchardt’s was not.
Instead of enforcing their duties, accepting responsibility for their failure, and finding the responsible persons for this unacceptable act by the group of protestors, Deputy Foreign Minister Cakaj used the situation for the purposes of propaganda.
In a press release, Cakaj stated “Enough is enough! The recent attack on the OSCE Ambassador’s House in Albania, Bernd Borchardt, following the OSCE public statement against the criminal violence in yesterday’s protest, constitutes another unacceptable criminal act…”
He failed to mention the fact that had the government abided by their obligations, there would have been no protest or vandalism at the property. In addition to this, if the incident does pose a threat to the ambassador and his family, then the government should be taking action to arrest the perpetrators as soon as possible, as well as providing 24/7 security at the Ambassador’s residence.