Tirana, 21 January 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Edison Kurani
Five years ago, a demonstration called by the then socialist opposition, precipitated into violence against police forces and ended with the murder of four citizens and the violent dispersion of protesters in the center of the Albanian capital, Tirana.
Four protesters, Ziver Veizi, Hekuran Deda, Aleks Nika and Faik Myrtaj remained killed in that event, where supporters of the Socialist Party clashed with police forces and the Republican Guard for several hours in front of the government building, where the Republican Guard opened fire.
The demonstration was called by the left wing leader, Edi Rama, as a popular protest against a suspected corruption affair of former deputy prime minister Ilir Meta, who at that time was part of a coalition with the leader of the right wing, Sali Berisha.
Through a video published on the media, Meta was accused of being involved in a corruption affair amounting to 700 thousand euros. This accusation ended up in court and the latter acquitted Meta of any criminal charges by declaring the footage as inadmissible.
Today, five years later, “21 January” is remembered in entirely different circumstances. Rama, who at that time called a protest which he observed in distance, has been in a governing coalition with Ilir Meta for three years now. One is prime minister and the other is speaker of parliament.
Rama meets with Meta on the eve of 21 January
In the past two years, when 21 January 2011 was commemorated, Rama and Meta remained distant. The first one participated in commemorative ceremonies, the second one held work visits abroad.
This time, the January 21 eve found them together. As if to demonstrate that the coalition is working and that the lack of punishments for 21 January doesn’t prevent it, Rama and Meta met on Wednesday evening in one of the restaurants of Tirana, media sources inform. Their dinner lasted around three hours. Rama and Meta left the restaurant smiling and were very friendly with each other, while many journalists followed them in distance awaiting a declaration which wasn’t given by any of them.
Rama: This government has not betrayed “21 January”
Prime Minister Edi Rama is one of the politicians that feels the most embarrassed by “21 January”. After calling that demonstration, where four of his supporters lost their life, many people seek justice.
Even this year, Mr. Rama promised that justice will happen.
Rama launched today (21.01) strong accusations against justice, while receiving the families of the four victims inside the premises of the government offices: “Each of the members of the Supreme Court, who keeps the January 21 case buried since 2013, is accused today of being guilty for the 5 year long suffering in search of justice”.
Rama said that “it’s outrageous that the January 21 case is the only case which has not been deliberated by the Albanian Supreme Court since 2013”.
Rama also said “justice may be delayed, but it shall not be denied” and added: “The case may be well buried in the cemetery where the Supreme Court is used to cover with the soil of fear that terrifies its members, the fiery cobbles that burn the hands of judges who are scared to death by their own shadow. But the poignant need for justice for the events of January 21 cannot be decomposed like the bodies of the 4 victims. Never!”
Rama gave assurances that “this government has not betrayed 21 January” adding: “We have worked every day with a patriotic commitment by launching a number of reforms to make Albania be reborn, after it was destroyed by the perpetrators of January 21”.
Rama promised that the SP will not give up from the reform in justice”, by underlining that “I consider this reform, a foundation stone for the morale of our government”.
Berisha: It was a coup to overthrow the government
Former Prime Minister Sali Berisha recalls 21 January as a day of coup d’etat to seize power through violence. “This was an unprecedented effort, where people who were paid, equipped with violent instruments, barbarically attacked for several hours the government building, with the hope and blind faith that the prime minister would allow them in their office”, Berisha said.
According to him, “part of this coup was President Bamir Topi and General Attorney Ina Rama”. For Berisha, “this coup aimed at crowing Edi Rama as prime minister”. Berisha also recalls the fact that after the event, the international community condemned this effort to seize power through violence.
Socialist MP Erion Brace: Republican Guard killed four people
Socialist MP, Erion Brace is sure that it was the Republican Guard who opened fire. “It was the Republican Guard the one which intentionally opened fire and killed four people and wounded at least six after it was ordered to do so”.
For Mr. Brace, the finger must be pointed to Berisha. “How is it possible that the man who was prime minister and who masterminded plans to protect his building, never appeared at the prosecution to offer his testimony”, Brace asked. He suggests that even today, Berisha “controls courts and doesn’t allow justice and reform in justice to be made”.
Balla: Berisha will be put in prison
Socialist MP, Taulant Balla accused former Prime Minister Sali Berisha as the person directly responsible for the murders. “Berisha is not only responsible for the murders, but also for concealing the evidence”. Balla promised that “Berisha will end up in prison for 21 January”, as according to him, the order for the killing of four protesters has been given by Sali Berisha and Lulzim Basha and has been communicated to the Republican Guard’s chief, Ndrea Prendi.
Spartak Ngjela: Time is silent for the justice of the victims
Politician and prominent columnist, Spartak Ngjela, supporter of the left, says that there’s no justice yet for January 21. According to him, that was “the day when Albanians overthrew an anachronic regime and an abusive one which was sending the state into degradation”.
Ngkela says that “the four victims of 21 January 2011 are martyrs”, by stressing that “time continues to be silent for the justice of the victims”.
Ngjela also explains the motives why according to him, four citizens lost their life: “They were killed in order for hope to be restored among Albanians: hope has not been restored because their murderers are enjoying the money stolen by the extreme poverty of Albanians”.
For Ngjela, “hope is far away”, because “abusiveness that appeared on the TV screen and rose Albanians to revolt, chairs the Albanian parliament”.
The family of one of the victims: Hope for justice was also killed for us
Five years after losing his nephew, Aleks Nika, his uncle, Mark Nika says that the last hope for justice was killed. “Aleks’ innocent body is rotting in the grave and his case has been covered in dust for five years at the prosecutor’s office”, he said.
Mark Nika called on the state “to shake justice off its roots and condemn organizers and the murderers who are now known by us”.
A different and challenging commemoration by young people
While the fifth anniversary of January 21 is being commemorated today, in Tirana there are different forms of protests. Some boys and girls put the graffiti that you see below, with the main characters of the Albanian politics in them.
Under the slogan “there’s a 21 January every day”, the graffiti shows the figures of Sali Berisha, Edi Rama and Ilir Meta.
These graffiti led to police measures. Some young people were taken in. Bora Mema, one of the activists, say that the young people were taken in without any legal explanation. She also explains the meaning of the graffiti: “The action consisted on drawing the hated faces of Sali Berisha, Ilir Meta and Edi Rama with machine guns in their hands.
21 January is not only the day when Sali Berisha killed for his thief Ilir Meta and the coward Edi Rama, it is the day of the poor who are killed by the policies of aggression against the underprivileged. 21 January is also the day when the head of a family kills himself because Edi Rama’s government cuts his electricity line, when a man and a woman die of electric current as they attempt to bring back power for their children, after OSHEE cuts it because they have no money to pay for it. When an ambulant vendor on the road falls into depression because the municipality police officer kicks him away, when a student falls into depression and is criminalized because the government increases university fees. Therefore, the slogan for which the activists were arrested as they used to day during communism, just because they openly expressed their objection, was: Every day is a January 21!” /ibna/