On June 8th, 2019, when there were already tensions about the opposition’s protest, the President of Albania, Ilir Meta, announced that he repealed the decree that established June 30th as the day for the local elections of 2019.
The Albanian Prime Minister, Edi Rama, was on an electoral meeting in Berat when he heard the news about the announcement. From there, he declared that the elections will be held nonetheless and that the President’s decision was political suicide.
On that day, Top Channel’s main news edition broadcasted an interview of journalist Muhamed Veliu with the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Mathew Palmer, who made a very strong warning:
“There is no place for violence in a democracy. The USA respect the democratic right of citizens for peaceful protests, but physical confrontation and usage of explosive devices as a means of protest is not only non-democratic but also illegal”, Palmer declared.
“Targeting police officers and government buildings with Molotov bombs and fireworks is not something democratic. Those who get involved in such violent activities should be held responsible. We have made several appeals to the Democratic Party leader, Lulzim Basha, and the leader of the Socialist Movement for Integration, Monika Kryemadhi, to publicly condemn the acts of their supporters, to cooperate with the investigations that help identify the individual authors and bring them to justice, and also to make sure that the other public protests will all be regular and peaceful. The violence exerted by the protesters goes against the purposes declared by their party leaders for a strong European democracy”, Palmer said.
However, on June 8th, the protest was held and Lulzim Basha greeted the President for repealing June 30th and the Election Day. By evening, the protest in front of the Parliament took a violent turn, and the President made another appeal for calm. The DP leader took the protesters at the Democratic Party HQ, concluding this way the troubled day by singing Albania’s anthem.