Citizens Protest, while Media Ignore Urban Destruction

Citizens and environment activists protested yesterday in front of the Tirana Municipality against the construction of a residential complex in the only green space close to the former Bus Park Station.

Yesterday, the residents who for a few days have protested in the fenced area ready for construction stood in front of Mayor Veliaj’s office asking him to not destroy the only green space in their neighborhood.

With placards in their hands, residents urged the Mayor Veliaj to keep the promises given during the campaign, where he stated that he wanted to enter history as the man who would not turn the public parks into palaces.

Mayor Veliaj has not directly confronted the citizens of the area of the former Bus Park Station. A few days ago, he chose, by means of a television interview, to “justify” the granted permission. Mayor Veliaj was careful not to mention the protest and the revolt of residents at any time during the interview.

But this has not been the only censorship towards the protests against the construction of this residential complex in the park near the Municipal Police.

None of the major television stations broadcasted footage from the protest. The news for the protest was neither mentioned as short news, or as a headline at any of the televisions that broadcast even the smallest political meetings and inaugurations of Mayor Veliaj. For the television media, which are tightly linked to government interests, the protests of the residents of the former Bus Park Station throughout these days have yet to happen.

Meanwhile, photos and film footage of the protest were posted and circulated in social media and in some of the online media and blogs.