U.S. Embassy Statement

Peaceful demonstrations are essential to healthy democracies, and the right of citizens to assemble and to protest against their government is fundamental.  Force and violence, however, have no place in the democratic process. We condemn the violence that took place during the May 11 protests in Tirana and those responsible.  The violence resulted in both injuries and property damage, including damage to the residence of the OSCE ambassador.  These violent actions were unlawful and undemocratic. We call on opposition leaders, in particular Democratic Party Chair Lulzim Basha and LSI Chair Monika Kryemadhi to condemn publicly the violent acts of their supporters, to cooperate with any investigations aimed at identifying the individual perpetrators and holding them accountable, and to ensure that all future public protests are orderly and peaceful.  Law enforcement authorities also have a responsibility to act with restraint, including when responding to provocations.  Violent demonstrations are damaging Albania’s democratic reform efforts and the country’s prospects for moving forward on the EU path. The United States urges all sides to step back from confrontation and engage in a constructive dialogue aimed at bringing an end to the political impasse.