On Sunday, a group of activists from Durrës put up posters denouncing the irresponsible construction at the cost of the city’s archaeological sites and artifacts. Within hours, their posters were torn down by a person who allegedly works for a Socialist Party member of parliament.
The activists’ posters showed cement mixers drowning the heroes of the city in concrete. Another one pictured the Venetian Tower buried by a tide of concrete. All images were spotted around the area of the port.
In the videos below, a person is seen taking the poster off the wall shortly after activists put them up. Sources told Exit that the person is the driver of Socialist MP Roland Xhelilaj.
Founded in the 7th century BC by Illyrians, Durrës has several archaeological sites that could be valuable tourist attractions due to their historic legacy. However, under the mayorship of Vangjush Dako (2007–2019), the city witnessed a wave of massive construction and reckless development with little to no concern for the preservation of cultural heritage. The mayor issued a number of permits allowing for the construction of residential and commercial buildings, as well suspicious public works on archaeological sites, putting the city’s heritage under threat.
Despite several court orders for the construction to halt, the municipality and government have failed several times to implement the orders, including the case of a public work – the Veliera project.
The reckless construction has resulted in a city which people consider to have lost its identity. Dissent against and denunciation of projects approved by the central and local government, and which have turned several ancient sites of the city into masses of concrete, are still faced with censorship.
However, the activists say they will continue their street art against projects that alienate the city and its people from their past and present.