From: Alice Taylor
Albanian Journalists Assaulted While Trying to Cover Tirana Mayor Erion Veliaj’s Electoral Event

Journalist Ronaldo Sharka, his cameraman, and driver were assaulted on Sunday while trying to cover an electoral activity of Mayor of Tirana Erion Veliaj.

The incident took place in Kavaje. Sharak attempted to ask questions to Veliaj but was quickly surrounded by a group of around 40 political supporters.

Ora News, the station where the journalists work, broadcast a video of the incident. At one point you can see the group descends upon them and tries to prevent them from doing their job, pushing them away from Veliaj.

“My colleagues and I found ourselves in the middle of a crowd, mostly men, who insulted, threatened, and assaulted us,” Sharka said.

He said he had a badge, microphone and the logo of the station was clearly visible. Sharka said Veliaj has failed to condemn the attack and he called on the authorities to identify those involved.

This is the second time in a week that a journalist has been assaulted and prevented from doing their work while trying to ask Veliaj questions.

On 13 April, journalist Isa Myzyrai was restrained with force and dragged by one of Veliaj’s bodyguards.

The incident was caught on camera as Myzyrai was attempting to ask him questions about construction and ongoing development in the city following a political event in a Tirana cafe. One bodyguard can be seen grabbing the journalist from behind and pulling him away from Veliaj.

He identifies himself as a journalist multiple times and asks him not to touch him. Yet the bodyguard continues to grab him and drag him away.

Myzyrai said:  “His companions not only obstructed me but held me by the hands and exerted physical pressure so I could not move until Veliaj got in his car and left.”