Friday, January 21, 2011
School finished early today. At 12.15 in order for students to get home before roads were closed & the protests started. The Socialist party had called for an anti government protest because of an ongoing 2yr long battle over ballot boxes not being opened, an election which was not free & fair & many corruption scnadals. People are very angry.
The Democratic government as well as many of the Socialists are all 'spot changing' former Communist party members. Berisha, the Prime minister was the man in charge of the pyramid scheme collapse. How does someone like that stay in power??
Anyway we drove home uneventfully, choosing a back route, far from the main boulevard where the protest was happening.
I'm glad people are protesting. I am always amazed at what citizens here put up with without protest, though I can also understand the resignation with so much corruption, no independent judiciary, rule of law etc. I guess also it is the communist legacy, not only having to just put up with bad government but also the huge legacy of fear which understandably makes people wary of sticking their necks out. But today 20,000 were on the streets protesting, storming the prime minister's office, throwing rocks, setting fire to police cars. There were lots of loud explosions but then there always are! People here love fire works, fire crackers....... and guns.
So far 2 protesters have died, the news doesn't specify how; 17 police injured & several protesters too. It even made it onto the BBC.
The pyramid in the picture was designed by Enver Hoxha's daughter-in-law (at his request) as his mausoleum. Presumably it had to be that size to fit his ego in...... When the communist party were defeated, his remains were quietly removed & the pyramid has just been left to decay. What I like best about it is that people irreverently climb up the ouside of it & slide down, & no one stops you. No health & safety Jobsworths here. Seems an appropriate way to treat the mausoleum of a tyrannical meglomaniac dictator. You can see in the picture the numbers of protesters standing on it.
Here's an article about the clash with police.
I just hope the protest achieves something. Albania is such a fragile, fledgling country & though it is making strides, or rather baby steps, it is always, also, taking a few steps back at the same time.