Tens of thousands of opposition supporters and citizens protested on Monday evening in Tirana against the government of Prime Minister Edi Rama.
Gathering before the prime ministry, they called for Rama to step down and for “Albania like all Europe”. This was the tenth national opposition protest since it abandoned the parliament.
Opposition leader Lulzim Basha started his speech with the elections held by the Socialist Party on June 30th. He said that this day turned into a “referendum against evil,” where Albanians “isolated the crime and corruption” by abandoning the elections in their 85 per cent.
June 30 is a wonderful monument of freedom, Europeanism and citizenship of Albanians. June 30 entered history as the national day of courage, when Albanians showed that they have the strength to separate from evil. June 30 was the day of the people when Albanians showed that they are opposed to Edi Rama’s criminal regime. He himself ran [in elections], himself voted, counted and, again, stole votes, but he could not hide the abandonment and rejection of a people. 85% of Albanians rejected his regime, refused crime and corruption, refused poverty and lack of hope. Edi Rama threatened, violated, bought, tempted, and still failed to break the will of the united Albanians.
Basha underlined that the way out of the crisis goes through the rule of law, bringing to justice those who have abused power, criminals and the “tough guys” whether in the streets, politics, business or the media.
“We will clean Albania from [their] devastating seed[s]”, declared Basha, addressing criminals and those related to crime. He added that “with the end of this criminal regime, we will put an end to the politics of the tough guys.”
Basha argued that the key reforms to be implemented in Albania after Rama’s departure as prime minister are the electoral reform and that of the political parties. According to him, these reforms will guarantee everyone’s right to be elected, ensure that crime and oligarchs’ money, as well as government sources have no role in the election, and that the media are not used as tools for manipulating voters.
The head of the opposition stressed that the government emerging from free and fair elections will pave the way for the country’s progress through a free economy, fair competition, and end to monopolies and state capture. According to Basha, the new government will be able to open the EU accession negotiations in a short time.
Protesters then turned on phone flashlights chanting “Rama, go” and “We want Albania like all Europe”. They walked towards the parliament building and then to the headquarters of the opposition Democratic Party.
In his concluding remarks there, Lulzim Basha invited Albanians to help the opposition to end the political transition in Albania.
[We will] not to be content with the political rotation that is coming, but [we will] give the Albanians what they want: the end of political transition, European standards. […] All together we will shape the hope for change. I need your support, your endurance, your attention as we close the transition door well, leaving out Edi Rama.
Peaceful protesters dispersed quietly after more than two hours of protest.