The UK Embassy in Tirana has expressed their concerns regarding the lack of dialogue before the government demolished the National Theatre building on Sunday They condemned the “episodes of violence” without specifying perpetrators and victims.
The embassy further expressed their support of the right to protest but called upon “all involved” that violence undermines basic principles of democracy.
Deeply concerned by missed opportunities for dialogue over the National Theatre building and episodes of violence in #Albania. We support the democratic right to protest and call upon all involved to ensure they are peaceful. Violence undermines basic principles of democracy.
— UK in Albania (@UKinAlbania) May 17, 2020
The British Embassy’s message was retweeted and supported by the Swedish Ambassador to Tirana Elsa Hastad.
Hundreds of police forces surrounded the theater building at night-time on Sunday, forcibly removed dozens of citizens sitting in front of the theater, and cordoned off the area.
They exercised violence on and detained at least 37 artists, journalists and activists protesting the demolition for more than two years. The demolition operation started immediately, without any safety or technical condition standards, using excavator bulldozers.
The illegal demolition was ordered while the country has been kept under a state of emergency since the November 26 earthquake, and under coronavirus lockdown for two months.
It also came while the Constitutional Court is reviewing the compliance with the Constitution of the government’s special law for the demolition, and the most recent transfer of theatre’s land ownership to the Municipality of Tirana, and while the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office is investigating the matter.