Albania’s opposition is holding another protest today, demanding Prime Minister Edi Rama’s resignation, a transitional government and free and fair elections.
Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in front of Prime Minister’s Office chanting “Rama, go!”
The extended area around Rama’s office was surrounded with metal fence, and heavy police presence was seen on the ground, including riot and special police forces.
Protesters launched sky lanterns reading “Go!” and lighted their phone flash lights while opposition leader Basha spoke to the crowd.
Basha said that Albanians are simply demanding free and fair elections, as they are held in other European countries. Rama, he claimed, is captured by crime and can only guarantee “monist elections” where only his party participates, which the opposition is not going to let happen. Basha repeated his refusal to seat in talks with Edi Rama as Prime Minister, as well as opposition’s assessment that there cannot be elections without the opposition participation.
Following Basha’s speech, peaceful protesters walked to the parliament building, and then to the Democratic Party headquarters.
Speaking to the crowd of supporters, Basha said that the coming days and weeks are decisive for the future of the country. He stated that the opposition is open for a political solution to the crisis and that such solution will come soon after Edi Rama resigns as prime minister. Basha added that the international community is also aware of the need for a political solution.
Local elections in Albania are set to be held on June 30. Rama has claimed that his Socialist Party will win in all cities. The opposition will not participate in local elections and has warned that it won’t let any elections take place while Rama is prime minister.
This is the fifth national protest organized by the opposition since February, while several are smaller protests have taken place in Tirana. The protesters have called for the resignation of Rama, as well as electoral reform, a transitional government, and free and fair elections.