From: Alice Taylor
Citizens Protest in Tirana, Demand Resignation of Ministers, PM

Hundreds of people protested outside the Albanian Ministry of the Interior and the Prime Minister’s Office in Tirana on Thursday (4 August) night after a police officer with a previous charge for abuse of office killed a seven-year-old girl while driving a motor boat in a swimmers area in Himara.

Arjan Tase has been charged with murder due to carelessness and faces up to five years in prison or a fine if convicted. In 2020, he was charged with failing to investigate and prevent cannabis cultivation on his watch. Still, the case was ultimately dismissed after being passed to a different prosecutor, and he retained his job.

The girl was killed when Tase’s boat hit her in the water. When she was swimming in an area boats were not allowed. Videos of the incident’s aftermath have appeared on social media, with Tase standing unrepentant in the boat, arguing with the child’s father and even pushing him. His service weapon was also found in the boat, although he was not on duty.

Those in attendance included men, women, and children, as well as opposition politicians Ilir Meta and Sali Berisha and their supporters.

After gathering outside the Ministry of the Interior office, which Minister Bledar Cuci had left earlier in the day to “not to provoke the protestors”, they marched down the boulevard. They called on President Bajram Begaj to comment on the issue and then stopped outside Prime Minister Edi Rama’s office, where they lit candles.

At the end of the protest, there was a physical confrontation between some protestors and police as the latter had set up a cordon in front of the Ministry Square.

Protestors will convene again on Monday to protest. They call for the resignation of Rama, Cuci, and Tourism Minister Mirela Kumbaro.

In December 2021, an on-duty policeman shot and killed an unarmed young man as he ran away after being caught breaking the COVID-19 curfew. For the next week, protests rocked the country, and young people clashed with police with many being detained. The protests resulted in the resignation of then-Interior Minister Sander Lleshaj.