Head of opposition: “The time for words is coming to an end”

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 1, 2019 07:49

Head of opposition: “The time for words is coming to an end”

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  • All arrested and prosecuted persons are accused of committing criminal offenses “organization and participation in illegal gatherings and manifestations,” “Opposition of police officer of public order,” “blast for duty,” “disruption of public peace,” “breach of rules on explosive, flammable and radioactive materials.”

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TIRANA, June 3 – After the latest opposition protest on Sunday, police announced on Monday that 42 people have been arrested and 18 others, including Democratic Party Secretary General Gazmend Bardhi, will be released on trial for violent clashes recorded during the protest.

Acts of violence in opposition protests were also condemned on Monday by OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak, according to whom “participation in democratic institutions is the only legitimate way to political power.”

According to the police, during the protest in front of the parliament “participants in the rally opposed, hit with strong tools, fireworks, smoke bombs and firecrackers with high explosion power police officers, planned with service in front of the Prime Minister’s Office and the Albanian Parliament’s headquarters,” explained the announcement, adding that “as a result of the use of pyrotechnic materials, fireworks, capsules and other items, considerable damage has been caused to the building of the Prime Minister’s Office and Parliament’s headquarters.”

All arrested and prosecuted persons are accused of committing criminal offenses “organization and participation in illegal gatherings and manifestations,” “Opposition of police officer of public order,” “blast for duty,” “disruption of public peace,” “breach of rules on explosive, flammable and radioactive materials.”

On Sunday evening, for more than an hour, the parliament’s main entrance took the appearance of a battleground, with smoke and flames. Protesting groups dropped firecrackers, smoke bombs and fireworks to the courtyard of the building, inside of which stood the special police forces and a water vehicle. After repeated calls to protestors to leave, police used tear gas and water reflux.

The evening balance marked 13 injured, according to Interior Minister Sandër Lleshaj, “ten are police officers and three protesters, and they were affected by pyrotechnics.”

From the hospital, where he visited the wounded, Lleshaj blamed the Democratic leader Lulzim Basha, “for the criminal attack by Democratic Party militants, against State Police. It is beyond any standard a violent attack on the police. The effort to destabilize violence is hopeless,” he stressed.

Earlier, Basha accused the police of “disproportionate violence. Albanians will not accept and will not allow for the holding of power by force. I tell Rama and Lleshaj they will be responsible before the law. That the attempt to bill a violent protest against violence will receive the deserved answer.”

Regarding developments in Albania, OSCE Chairman-in-Office Miroslav Lajcak said today, during his visit to Tirana that the escalation of violence during some protests led by the opposition has become very tiring.”

“Their continuation will undermine Albania’s efforts for reform and will undoubtedly hinder the realization of its domestic and international priorities. The riots should not replace democratic engagement, rather they give up every chance of dialogue and finding a common ground,” said Lajcak during the joint press conference with the Albanian Foreign Minister in charge Gent Cakaj.

According to him, “the decision of the opposition members to renounce their mandates is unfortunate. Democracy seeks control and balance. And the opposition has an important role,” he said, adding that “the violence and intimidation of international organization officials is unacceptable,” referring to the case of the OSCE ambassador in Tirana after some of his statements condemning the violence in opposition protests a few weeks ago. Lajcak stressed that “the only way to make progress and find a solution is through a constructive dialogue between all sides, to overcome differences and work in the best interest of the country.”

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 1, 2019 07:49