Edi Rama – 5 Years of Arresting Citizens Who Protest for Their Rights

24 November 2018 – Prosecution demanded the detaining of six citizens and the continuing obligation to appear in court for five others – all protesting in front of the Parliament in defense of their property. They are awaiting the court ruling.

17 November 2018 – Police arrested 11 inhabitants of the Astir area who were protesting against government’s decision to cut the power in houses it is set to demolish. Hundreds of families were left in cold and darkness.

13 November 2018 – Police arrested 4 inhabitants of the Astir area for “illegal rallying” outside the Municipality of Tirana. They were kept in detention until past midnight and then released.

4 November 2018 — Artists Robert Budina and Kastriot Çipi were taken to a police station following their protest against the demolition of the National Theater during the European Commissioner Johannes Hahn’s visit.

1 April 2018 — Government arrested 23 citizens late at night in Kukes, following their protest during the day against the Rruga e Kombit highway toll. They were taken to Tirana where they were questioned without the presence of their lawyers. At least 11 of them were left in jail for weeks. One arrested protester, Florjan Onuzi, had a cardiac arrest while in custody.

2 April 2018 — Police arrested the American professor Lori Amy and an Albanian colleague of her, following their support for protests of Kukes citizens against the highway toll. They were kept in custody for 7 hours, and they were not allowed access to a lawyer or translator.

23 January 2018 — Fier Police arrested 4 inhabitants of Verri village who protested against the construction of a waste incinerator near their houses.

18 October 2017 — Tirana Court sentenced 4 protesters from the 22 February 2016 protest against the illegal construction work for the playground in the artificial Lake Park. Mimoza Boçari, Ardit Mekshiqi, Orges Zani, and Altin Kuko were sentenced to one month in jail for resisting the police officer. Citizens protested against Mayor Veliaj’s illegal plan to build a concrete playground in the park, which violated several laws as well as the Aarhus Convection.

15 September, 2017 — Police assaulted 15 citizens, a 12-year-old child among them, who protested against the demolition of their houses in the Shkoza area in Tirana, as part of a government project for the reconstruction of the road. The government demolished 153 buildings, leaving 400 families out in the streets, with no housing and no compensation.

1 July, 2017 — Police assaulted and arrested 4 citizens who were protesting against the pouring of concrete over a neighborhood park in Tirana.

28 July, 2017 — Prosecution initiated investigations into 3 organizers of protests against the water price hike in front of the Municipality of Tirana building. Among the investigated was a pregnant woman. According to the official police statement, protesters had incited the crowd to violence, although it was clear that the protest was a totally peaceful one, by citizens who just opposed the potable water price hike and never mentioned anything related to violence.

19 March, 2017 — Judge Arben Micko of the Tirana Penal Court sentenced 8 students who were charged on criminal grounds for throwing eggs to Prime Minister Rama. The prosecution presented the remnants of an egg as material evidence.

6 January, 2017 — Student and activist Mirela Ruko of the Movement for the University (Lëvizja për Universitetin) was kept in custody for one night after pouring a bottle of tomato sauce over Minister of Education and Sports Lindita Nikolla, as a protest against the reform in education. She was also called by the prosecution to give her testimony on the matter. Had Minister Nikolla pressed charges, the prosecution could have asked for a 3-year jail sentence for “assaulting a public official in the execution his duty”, and 2 more years in jail for “disturbing the public order”.

23 September, 2016 — Prosecution demanded the arrest of students Klodian Leka and Bislim Lakna for writing PM Rama’s name in a dumpster as a protest against the approval of the law on waste imports.

14 May, 2016 —Tirana Prosecution initiated investigations into 20 citizens who had protested for weeks against the illegal construction of a playground in the Tirana Lake Park.