Albania: Protesters throw red paint on the Interior Ministry after the death of a little girl

Albania: Protesters throw red paint on the Interior Ministry after the death of a little girl

Protesters threw red paint on the Interior Ministry building in Tirana on the night of Monday (August 8) in order to demand justice and resignations. This event follows the death of a seven-year-old girl, killed by an off-duty police officer who was driving a boat at high speed.

Earlier this month, Jonada Avida was killed instantly in an area reserved for swimmers when she was hit by the propellers of a boat. The tragedy sent shockwaves through Albania and sparked protests from civil society and opposition parties. The boat was driven by Arjan Tase, a policeman who, in 2020, escaped charges of abuse of power in a drug cultivation case thanks to a form defect.

Citizens demanded the resignation of Tourism Minister Mirela Kumbaro and Interior Minister Bledar Cuci. They also spread bright red paint on the exterior of the ministry building.

“Mrs. Kumbaro, as Minister of Tourism, should resign after failing in tourism. You killed a seven-year-old girl who had come to spend the holidays in her native country”, said one of the protagonists of the demonstration.

Ilirjana Kucana, a relative of the deceased girl, who lived in the UK but was visiting Albania for the summer, asked Prime Minister Edi Rama, during the demonstration, to respond to the demands of the protesters. She would have received no response.

“We will continue to demand justice for Jonada from international institutions. We will launch an online and physical petition to ask the Prime Minister to dismiss Ministers Mr. Çuçi and Ms. Kumbaro. We do this for the other Jonada. Someone must be held responsible for every person killed by state agents, by the Prime Minister”, Ms Kuçana said.

Mr Tase has been charged with indirect manslaughter and is awaiting trial in prison.

The witnesses of the event who spoke to EURACTIV spoke about their trauma after the death, describing it as “like a horror movie” and noting that Mr. Tase was leading to a “hellish speed”. His service weapon was also found in the boat, although he was not on duty at the time.

One of the girl’s family members told the media that important details of the incident were being covered up. She said the family, who live in England, will submit evidence to the British embassy. They added that since the child was a British citizen, they hoped the UK would investigate as well.

“The collision was not enough for him, he turned around and started the boat’s propellers. Such an action can occur only under the influence of narcotic drugs. I have a lot of information, but I can’t speak because we have left this to the courts”, the family member said, adding that several witness videos will be filed with the prosecutor’s office.

At the same time, the police ordered a crackdown on the activity of pleasure boats on the Albanian coast. The owners and administrators, however, protested in front of the border police in Vlore, saying that this destroys their activity at the height of the tourist season.


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