Moments of tension in front of the National Theater of Tirana this morning when the artists and protesters tried to enter the theater, clashing with the police.
The protest was born because of the government's project - approved in parliament last November - which involves the demolition of the historic national theater to make way for a new, more modern one.
The initial proposal of the Edi Rama government was to build a new building, based on a project by the famous Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, with private funds. The Albanian construction company "Fusha" was offered to carry out the works, which in turn asked to obtain permission to build some 20 storey buildings in the same area.
The majority was forced to change their position after the intervention of the European Commission, which suggested launching a tender for the construction and urban development of the area.
"The commission encourages the government to follow the EU public procurement principles and to ensure non-discriminatory access to free market competition. ”- read the letter sent last September by Michela Matuella (responsible for EU enlargement for Albania and Bosnia) to the Albanian government.
The leader of the Democratic and opposition party Lulzim Basha also joined Protestants and artists. The latter, in a statement for the media present, expressed his total support for the cause of the artists, claiming that the project from 200 million is a way for premier Rama to launder money:
"Everything that is happening here has to do with a project from 200 million to recycle drug money and to enrich Rama. The theater has been defended by the artists and we are at their side.
The opposition has been and is ready to support them, it is time for the Albanians to understand that what is happening today with the theater will also happen with their homes. We must not allow the construction of other buildings instead of the theater."- the former mayor of Tirana told the press.
Even the President of the Republic, Ilir Meta, reacted following the clashes between police and Protestants this morning, urging the police to respect the artists' protest:
"Surrounding the National Theater with the police and physical clashes with the community of artists, who are there in defense of one of our historical, cultural and national heritage, are a disgrace. I urge the State Police to respect the artists and their right to protest."- reads the post on Facebook of the Albanian head of state.
Edmon Budina, known Albanian actor and director, was one of the artists "attacked" by the police as told to the media:
"Today is a sad day. It never happened to me even at the time of Ramiz Alia. The police didn't drag me down the street then. We were 5 people at the door and we were not doing anything. We protested peacefully. This is the end of Albanian democracy. This is a fascist regime."- declared Budina.
To stay up to date you can follow the official page of "Aleanca for mbrojtjen and teatrit”
Appeal to the Italian community from the National Theater of Tirana, dismantled and devastated. Thank you all for your support, you are so many
Placed by Adele Budina op Woensdag 24 juli 2019