Skip to main content

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.
Anonymous 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....
Anonymous 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.
olli 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.
bytycci 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.
olli 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.
olli said…
Still researching the mussel farms. I think you could be on to something there.

Popular posts from this blog

Dy Rame Per Tirane

I was watching Top Channel last night, first the news, then Fiks Fare. According to them Tirana's citizens now have a choice not only between Rama and Olldashi, but also between Rama and Rama. A minor right-wing faction, Parti 'Balli Kombetar' , submitted papers to the election authorities registering their candidate, Akile Rama. The people on Fiks Fare got hold of the papers and sent a reporter and camera team to the address listed for Mr A Rama. After much ringing of the bell the gate was reluctantly opened by a middle-aged woman who refused to speak to the reporter and tried to close the gate on her. Back in the studio Saimiri and Doctori - the two presenters of Fiks Fare - revealed that Mr Akile Rama was 73 years old, in hospital, and did not know he was now a candidate for mayor. They also compared two documents - the papers submitted on his behalf, and a genuine document he had signed. The signatures were not even remotely similar. There was an interview with the lea

Albania and the Perils of the 21st Century

Another article on religion in Albania appeared yesterday. Patrick Poole, writing in the American Thinker , argues that Saudi funding for the construction of mosques and the training of imams is a threat to Albania, since these mosques and imams reflect the fundamentalist interpretation of Islam dominant in Saudi Arabia.

Guide Turistike

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council , the future is bright for Albania. The Council ranks Albania ninth out of 174 countries for tourism growth over the next ten years. A summary of the Council's report is available, as is the full report complete with many pages of graphs, charts and spreadsheets. This summer I have seen a number of tourists on the streets of Tirana. Some of them may well be Albanian expats, or people of Albanian descent returning home to visit family, but others are genuine 'foreigners'. Judging from their appearance, they are probably best described as 'independent travellers' - the kind of people who are not interested in luxury hotels or crowded beaches. This is a good start, but independent travellers are not the kind of big spenders that the tourist industry likes. In the longer term, if Albania wants to bring in the kind of free-spending tourists who currently holiday in Croatia or Slovenia, there will have to be a huge invest