From: Exit Staff
OSCE Ambassador Borchardt Tells Media Freedom Delegates to “Ignore” Protesters at Event

Ring Road Women for Dignity (GUD) protested once again against OSCE Ambassador to Albania Bernd Borchardt in an OSCE event on media freedom today. He told international media freedom delegates attending the event to ignore the protesters.

GUD was established few weeks ago, in reaction to Mr. Borchardt giving them the middle finger while they were protesting outside of a police station in Tirana.

At the Annual Forum for Media Development organized by the OSCE Presence in Albania today, several women held banners reading “The Middlefinger should not lecture free media”, “Borchardt go home and take your middle finger with you”, “Mr. Middlefinger dishonors the OSCE”, and “Borchardt in Tirana, an insult to Albania”.

Tiranë: Një grup zonjash të lagjes së Unazës së Re, protestoi sot në hapje të një konference të OSBE-së ndaj drejtuesit të saj, Bernd Borchardt, për gjestin e tij ndaj tyre, që ato thonë se i ka fyer. Ambasadori Borchardt kërkoi falje për gjestin e tij me gisht ndaj protestuesve, por ato i kanë vazhduar protestat ndaj tij, ashtu si edhe protestat në mbrojtje të banesave të tyre, që planifikohen të prishen nga zgjerimin i Unazës.

Gepostet von VOA – Zëri i Amerikës am Freitag, 1. November 2019

Exit journalist Alice Elizabeth Taylor, who is attending the forum, tweeted that Borchardt seemed angry when women appeared with banners, and said “ignore them” and “get them out of here”.

She also added that Mr. Borchardt told the women “peace be with you” when they were escorted out of the room.

The inhabitants of the Astir neighborhood in Tirana have been protesting for months against the forced demolition of their homes to make way for a public infrastructure project on the Ring Road that has been marred by corruption.

They were holding one such protest when Borchardt gave them the finger three weeks ago, after they shouted “shame on you” for his alleged support of the Rama government.

After widespread outrage at his actions, the OSCE tweeted out Borchardt’s apologies to anyone he “may have offended.”

However, the Astir women set up a civil society group, GUD, to call for justice and dignity after the incident. Since then, they have demanded Borchardt’s resignation in other similar protests.

Sources from the OSCE told Exit that Borchardt will be faced with no internal disciplinary action.