Protests escalate in Tirana over ring road demolitions

Protests escalate in Tirana over ring road demolitions
By bne IntelliNews November 15, 2018

Protests in Tirana against plans to demolish buildings to make way for the construction of ring road around the Albanian capital escalated on November 15. 

Citizens of the Astir area in Tirana have been protesting for 12 days against the Tirana municipality’s project to build a ring road that requires demolition of some houses and stores.

Protestors are trying to persuade Tirana mayor Erion Veliaj to abandon the project, saying they will not allow demolition of their houses without getting 100% compensation according to market price value, Albanian Daily News reported.

Around 200 people attended the latest protest. The police were on high alert to prevent any incidents, and there has been a heavy police presence during protests outside Tirana city hall in recent days. 

On November 15, the situation escalated, as some protestors threw tear gas in Tirana city hall, and clashed with police at the doors to the city hall building. The municipality said in a statement that several police officers were injured and taken to hospital for treatment. 

The 27 km ring road project is aimed at solving the traffic problems in Tirana and is seen by authorities as major project as it will ease traffic flow and will reduce congestion-related travel delays for cars and public transport. 

However, the plan has angered residents who are set to lose their homes or businesses, and Veliaj stoked the flames by describing the protesters as “cavemen”. 

The authorities said that a total of 317 facilities will be demolished to enable the construction of the ring road, but according to protestors 490 facilities will be affected.

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