Residents of the Astir district in the Albanian capital Tirana clashed with the police on November 12 as the authorities started demolishing their homes to open the way for the Tirana ring road project, sparking outrage among opposition politicians.
Astir residents have been protesting for over a year against the €40mn road project which will require the demolition of up to 300 homes. The government does not plan to compensate the residents for the loss of their apartments, saying they were built illegally.
According to broadcaster RTSH, the National Territory Protection Inspectorate began demolishing 33 buildings in the Astir area on November 12.
Several citizens were injured during the protest and were admitted to hospital, Albanian Daily News reported.
Opposition politicians accused the government of using excessive power against protesting citizens. The leader of the main opposition Democratic Party, Lulzim Basha, said that all those involved in the “criminal act” against Astir citizens should be punished.
Monika Kryemadhi, head of the Socialist Movement for Integration (LSI), the second largest opposition party, said that Astir residents will receive compensation for the damage caused.
Kryemadhi accused Prime Minister Edi Rama of being in partnership with people involved in crime and corruption, stating that the violence of the police was “anti-human barbarism”.
The 27 km ring road is aimed at solving the traffic problems in Tirana and is seen by the authorities as a major project as it will ease traffic flows and reduce congestion-related travel delays for cars and public transport.
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