Prime Minister Edi Rama’s COVID-19 Measures Stop Albanian Muslims from Celebrating Eid

After easing COVID-19 restrictive measures over the last week, Prime Minister Edi Rama has announced that this weekend “will be like the last one”.

As of Monday 18 May, citizens and traffic were able to move without the need for a permit, until 9 pm. Over Saturday and Sunday however, only pensioners and parents with children under 14 are allowed. The time window of movement is between 5 am and 9 pm.

The announcement has drawn criticism as Sunday morning is Eid al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan. The event is traditionally celebrated with gatherings in mosques and squares to mark the end of the month of fasting with prayer. As per the rules announced by Rama, this will not be possible.

Deputy Chairman of the Socialist Movement for Integration, Petrit Vasili called on Albanian Muslims not to respect Rama’s decision. He noted that last weekend, 1500 policemen stood “shoulder to shoulder” violated all the social distancing rules to demolish Tirana’s National Theatre. He said, for this reason, Rama should “not dare” to stop the Eid prayer. 

Police were seen clearing out cafes this morning along with any shops that were not pharmacies or food markets.