OSCE Ambassador Bernd Borchardt has apologized on Twitter for his obscene gesture yesterday while passing demonstrators in Astir shouting “Rama ik!” (Rama, leave!) and “Shame on you!” In a video shared widely on social media, Ambassador Borchardt is seen passing the demonstrators, raising his middle finger twice to those behind him.
The Socialist Party did not hesitate to endorse Borchardt’s obscenity. Chief whip of the Socialist Party, Taulant Balla, declared earlier this afternoon:
The OSCE ambassador is the ambassador of a very important institution of which Albania is a member state, of which Albania moreover will have the presidency next year.
I am sorry that certain parties in Albania, especially the PD, sees its own problems in the position of ambassadors. In every case the ambassadors express the position of the organizations or countries they represent.
However, the tweet of the OSCE Presence in Albania now seems to reverse Ambassador Borchardt’s antagonistic position toward democratic protestors:
“I would like to sincerely apologize to those I may have offended yesterday. I respect Albanians’ right to peacefully demonstrate.” – Ambassador Borchardt.
— OSCE PresenceAlbania (@OSCEinAlbania) October 14, 2019
The inhabitants of the Astir neighborhood have been protesting for months against the forced demolition of their homes to make way for a public infrastructure project that has been marred by corruption.