The summit in Tirana is at high risk due to opposition protests and possible incidents

Albanija Air Stadion

The summit of the EU and the countries of the Western Balkans, which starts tomorrow, December 6, in Tirana, political analysts in Albania, as well as Prime Minister Edi Rama, evaluate as a historic event, not only for that country but also for the entire region. However, as reported by the correspondent of Kosovo Online from Tirana, the protests that had been announced by the opposition and the potential incidents discussed in the previous days could cast a shadow on the entire "spectacle".

Namely, despite the police recommendation that the protest scheduled for tomorrow be held in Skanderbeg Square, the opposition is firmly determined to protest in front of the government building, in the part of the city that will be under special curfew measures due to the Summit.

Former Prime Minister and President of Albania Sali Berisha, who leads the opposition, said late last night that the protest would still be held on the capital's "Martyrs of the Nation" boulevard, despite police warnings that they would not allow the security cordon to be breached.

On the other hand, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama says that holding a protest on the day of the summit is absurd and that security measures cannot be negotiated, stressing in a statement to the Albanian media that anyone who tried to violate them would be held accountable.

As previously announced, the Democratic Party's protest would be joined by the Party of Freedom and Justice, by the former president of Albania, Ilir Meta.
The Deputy President of the Party of Freedom and Justice, Agim Nesho, claims that it will be a "peaceful manifestation". He told Kosovo Online that the opposition would protest in favor of the "European Albania".

"We want to be as clear as possible on that path. We will protest in front of the government, because we are pro-European oriented, and against the politics and administration led by Rama. So, by saying YES to Europe, we are saying NO to Edi Rama's regime. If the police do not allow us to protest in front of the government, we will act in accordance with the constitutional law that stipulates that citizens can gather politically wherever they have the opportunity and without the permission of the police because it is a peaceful protest with EU flags", Nesho said.

The announced protest is excellent political marketing for the Democratic Party and Sali Berisha, political analyst Ben Andoni claims.

Andoni says that Berisha tendentiously chose December 6 to show his voters how powerful he is, that he is the real and only leader of the opposition, and to let the EU know that he is the person to talk to.

"I think that there is still some communication between the police and the PDK and that a compromise solution will be found, where and how the protest could be held so that there would be no problems. The opposition aims at internal political marketing, to once again show its voters that they are against Edi Rama and that they are the only ones who can change Albania and, of course, show the EU their strength, and show Berisha as a leader who should be respected", Andoni claims.

The well-known Albanian journalist and analyst Lutfi Dervishi believes that the protest cannot damage the reputation of Albania, but he wonders why the government is worried about it, because the opposition, as he claims, does not want riots on December 6.

"I think that protests are good. They are a sign of democracy; only a free society protests. We should not mix canons with democracy. As for canons, they are welcome, flowers, applause, and hugs and as for the democratic system, the right to protest is guaranteed in the constitution. The opposition has two messages, we protest against the government, but we welcome the heads of state. Like the two-headed Janus from Greek mythology, one looks forward and the other looks back," Dervishi told Kosovo Online.

There are also those analysts who are of the opinion that the "hand of Russia" is hiding behind the opposition's protests.

In a recent interview with Euronews Albania, the former director of the national news agency ATA, Frrok Cupi, stated that due to Russian and Iranian intervention, there was a risk of an attack on one of the EU leaders during the Summit.

Those claims are rejected by Andoni, who believes that there is no possibility of any incident either at the Summit or on its margins because the EU has taken all security measures for its happening.

According to him, all the security services of Europol, Interpol, and other offices were engaged for the Summit, more than 1,000 police officers, the protocol was strict, considering that 27 EU leaders and their delegations, as well as delegations from Brussels and countries from the region, would meet at the same place and same time.

"Albania is only the host of the Summit and as such has taken all security measures on its own," Andoni claimed.

The state police announced that extraordinary security measures had been taken during the Summit, without specifying the number of engaged members of the security services. Several city streets and part of the highway would be closed to traffic in Tirana, and the movement of citizens in the city center and near the meeting place of EU leaders would be restricted.

The restrictions start today at 2 pm and will last until the end of the Summit and the departure of the delegations.