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Protest Rally

Skenderbeg Square was filled, but not packed, for last night's protest by the opposition parties. The crowd was mixed - old and young, mostly men but with a substantial minority of women. Some people also brought along their children.

After some bad music, the rally proper commenced with the national anthem, followed by an awful lot of speeches. The main political speakers are picutred at the bottom of this post. I could make out a few words and phrases and they certainly were far from complimentary, something confirmed in the - slightly garbled - report in Gazeta Sot.

The early evening thunderstorms had cleared up by the time the rally started, but the rain began to fall again just as Edi Rama began to speak. At that point some in the crowd - including your fearless correspondent - decided it was time to go, but the majority of people seemed determined to stay to the end.

Whatever the points in dispute between government and opposition, however well -or badly - both are handling those disputes, it is worth remembering that staging peaceful political protests is not something to be taken for granted. Even in Western societies, public protests are often burdened with the potential for conflict and violence. So it was good to see that the demonstration was well-organised, well-managed and well-policed.

Will it make any difference? Not until Albanian politicians adopt a less confrontational and more co-operative approach to the practice of politics, something President Moisiu has been calling for for some time. For the moment it looks like nobody's listening.


Anonymous said…
Exactly Alwyn, - a more co-operative and less confrontational approach is desperately needed before it's too late. Many potential foreign investors see the confrontational politics as "political instability" and won't risk involvement in Albania. Surely, the politicians should know that such foreign investment is desperately needed if the economy is going to improve and with it the prosperity of a larger number of people. Due to this confrontational political situation, Albania could so easily miss the vital opportunities to attract such investment while other Eastern European countries will secure much higher levels of inward investment simply because they appear to be more stable. I suppose, like many politicians the world over, Albanian politicians lose touch with the situation faced by so many. In the case of Albania that means poverty, widespread high levels of unemployment, no fresh water, malnutrition, and perhaps most significantly, little hope for improvement while the politicians are squabbling like playschool kids.
vloraboy said…
Thanks for the pictures. There is a link to your pictures posted at That site is visited by a LOT of Albanians interested in politics. Your pictures mean a lot, because they come from "an ousider" not as passionate or even fanatic about the politics in Albania. Your comments and pictures seem impartial and realistic. I don't know if you heard, but according to a comment in the same website, different newspapers were reporting numbers varying from 2,000 protesters (Rilindja Demokratike) to 50,000 (Shekulli). What was your impression?

Thanks again...
ITS said…
Why does it matter how many people were at the square anyway...

What I find intersting from the photos is that the average Albanian has gotten a lot fatter compared to 10-15 years ago. The nutrition problem seems to have been solved.

If only the roads, the electricity, the water, and the sanitation... ah {@çk it....
correction said…
I've heard from several different sources that many of the protesters were actually paid money by the opposition to get to Tirana by bus and to protest. It's apparently not so uncommon.
ourmanintirana said…
Regarding the numbers - I heard from a neutral source that there were approximately 5,000 people present. This sounds about right - there were more than 2,000, but the notion that there were 50,000 there is absurd.

Were they bussed in? Possibly. I imagine the parties involved would want to get as many of their supporters as possible to gather.

On the other hand, since such a large proportion of the population live in the Tirana area, I would have thought that there would be little need to bus people in from farther away.
Anonymous said…
Funny how they squabble of a voters register when Albanians dont have proper addresses, or personal ID numbers. I think they leave such matters up in the air just so that they continue to squabble like this and milk the people as long as they can.
bytyqis said…
thanks for those pics.
I am also providing a link to these pics to

I would like to read a post here about your opinions on the recent crackdown on organized crime and corruption in Albania.
ourmanintirana said…
I'm not sure I know enough about it to have an opinion myself, but at some point I can certainly pass on the range of opinions I have heard from others with - sometimes - a greater claim to insight.
ITS said…
I would like to see Alwyn write an article about the possiblities of developement of Mussels' farming along the Ionian coast.
Anonymous said…
Thanks for the coverage and the pictures. I'm glad to see how the people freely express their opinions and demonstrate.

However, the opposition's rally was more about their own concerns of coming to power than worrying about the country's economy, democracy, etc. etc.

They demand new elections and a new left-wing government. But, there is no new government with old faces.
Anonymous said…
Thank you for the comment and the picture .I think that we (Albanians) have a lot to do for building and development democracy and governence in Albania.Also I am thinking pozitive for this kind of meetings because they bring together the pover between electors and electeed.
I was able to see a public meeting that was organized from Democracy &Governenc in Albania -last Friday in Shkodra with 2 Member of Parliament from DP .I think that this meeting beetween citizen and MP will develop this process and will build more cooperation and we will have pozitive results for our problems.
Best regards !
Anonymous said…
Mendoj qe eshte e kote nese ne Shqipot e kthejme faqen e nje te huaji ne nje vend diskutimi per politike. Lereni te shkretin te shijoje ato pak bukuri qe ka Tirana e te na tregoje se c'ndodhet por mos e ngatarroni me diskutime partiake.
ourmanintirana said…
Still researching the mussel farms. I think you could be on to something there.

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Never did like that crappy song.

But it's true nevertheless.

Tomorrow in the wee hours of the morning we will be heading for the airport for the last time. I suppose it was too much to expect that I could have kept this going while getting ready to leave. So apologies for the lack of postings over the last weeks. This is post number 380 something so I suppose one post every two days is not a bad average.

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Welcome to Our Man in Tirana. I moved to Tirana, capital of Albania, in October 2005 and left in October 2007. This blog is a mix of photographs, reports, links, impressions and, undoubtedly, prejudices relating to the city and the country.

Since I am no longer in Tirana I am no longer updating this blog. However, there are over 300 posts covering this two year period and I hope that they are still of some interest.

So if you are curious about Albania or if you are planning to visit I hope this blog will be of value.

Miss Globe 2007

On Saturday, we were at the Rogner meeting with an expat friend who was leaving Tirana. It was breakfast time, and as our friend was finishing his tea the breakfast room started to fill up with over-dressed (or under-dressed) young women wearing blue sashes. These were the contestants for the Miss Globe 2007 beauty pageant being held in Tirana tonight at the Palace of Congresses. High heel boots and mini-skirts - or in a couple of cases micro-skirts, or possibly just belts - have never struck me as obvious breakfast attire, but the girls seemed happy enough tottering and wobbling around with their tea and toast. I'm not sure why they were wearing their sashes - perhaps in case they forgot which country they came from.
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