From: Alice Elizabeth Taylor
Albanian Government Silent on 30-Year Anniversary of Tiananmen Square Massacre

Yesterday marked the 30-year anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre where the Chinese government murdered up to 3000 protestors. The British, Australian, American, and other governments all posted statements calling for an improvement in human rights in the country, including a right to protest, Tirana remained silent.

In 1989, Chinese students and citizens started protesting for an end to rampant corruption, better freedom of speech and expression, and democracy. After over a month of protesting, the Chinese government ordered troops to enter Tiananmen Square in Beijing and to open fire on protestors with assault rifles and military tanks.

Whilst to date, the exact number of those murdered is unknown, estimates suggest it could be as many as 3000, with thousands more injured.

Instead of acknowledging the anniversary of the atrocity, the Chinese government blocked a number of foreign media sites coverage, and local reporters described their crackdown as “near obsessive”.

The British Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt issued a statement to commemorate those that lost their lives whilst protesting peacefully. He added that Chinese citizens are still denied their right to protest or to express themselves freely.

Hunt’s American counterpart, Michael Pompeo stated that those who died “suffered grievously in pursuit of a better future for their country”. He added that citizens today are still seeking to exercise human rights, pursue justice, and express their views without being jailed, punished or tortured.

He concluded that: “History has shown that nations are stronger when governments are responsive to their citizens, respect the rule of law, and uphold human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

Albania has been in the grip of anti-government protests since February of this year. Opposition protests, and increasingly members of civil society are calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Edi Rama as well as free and fair elections. They claim widespread corruption, political links to organised crime, vote buying and rigging, various democratic and rule of law violations, economic inequality, and infringements of fundamental human rights including free media, and freedom of expression.

Protests have been largely peaceful with incidences of scuffles with police and damage to government buildings. A number of protestors have thrown fireworks and flares at police, and the authorities have responded with the widespread use of tear gas and other aggressive tactics.

This excessive use of the chemical weapon has been condemned internationally, as have the injuries that have been sustained by civilians and journalists.

Exit reached out to the Albanian government to ask for a comment on yesterday’s anniversary, but the request had been ignored at the time of writing.