From: Exit News
Interior Minister again Defends Actions of Police During National Theatre Protests

Minister of the Interior Sander Lleshaj has again defended the actions of Albanian police during the National Theatre riots.

During a session of the Assembly today, he explained the concept of violence as per the law on police, and said the police were forced to be violent. He also said he would never reveal the names of the police pictured assaulting citizens.

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A protestor holding up Dostoyevski’s Idiot.

“Violence is a force to be reckoned with…the police were forced and prevented from exercising their duty…The police remained at the first level as defined by the law in terms of physical coercion. During this clash, over 60 escorts [arrests] were made. The court of Tirana has considered the action of the police for 8 of this as legal, although you call it barbaric,” he said.

The Minister and the police have been criticized for instructing all police to remove their identification numbers. To this, Lleshaj said:

“You will never get the names of the police officers because you do not have the right to investigate. The only thing they can have is prosecution.”

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He added: “You will not see police officers who have ID numbers because they are identified by their executives [seniors]. The burden of their failures lies with their leaders and you know their names. If you want political responsibility you have y name, you don’t need to know theirs.”

In terms of the two journalists that were assaulted and arrested, Lleshaj said “on that day there were two journalists who were not on duty”.

Footage has been published of police with pistols and semi-automatic weapons storming the National Theatre at 4:30 am to remove the unwitting activists within. Additional video footage and photographs show students, journalists, and other peaceful protestors being hit, kicked, and being subjected to excessive force.