Theater demolition in Albania – space for a shop ping zentrumdie Albanian government will break away from all protests, in Spite of the national theatre, the stands in the centre of Tirana on lucrative building land. Peter Münch, Wien1 Kommentar1Mit excavators and police violence: on Sunday night the demolition of the theatre in Tirana began.Photo: Florion Goga (Reuters)

rubble and dust, and quite a lot of anger left from the battle for Albania’s national theatre. In the middle of the night, the demolition command is indented with heavy equipment, and according to the pictures the work of destruction was done thoroughly. In Parallel, the police went on the weekend against artists and activists who had taken refuge in the house rich in tradition. They are fighting for more than two years, for the preservation of the cultural monument. But the government has other plans and she has to enforce with all the power started.

The theater building on the Scanderbeg square in the capital Tirana, dates from the time of the Italian occupation. In 1939, it was built by the architect Giulio Bertè in a futuristic style. Initially, it housed a cinema, after the takeover of the Communists to Enver Hoxha, the first show trials against “enemies of the state took place there,” since 1947, it served as a national theatre. 500 seats in the main building, and an experimental theatre with two smaller halls – here is the heart of Alba struck American culture life.

renovation is said to be too expensive

The Central location, however, also long been the heart of the investors has a beat. As a renovation of the theatre building’s decorum, said the government of socialist Prime Minister Edi Rama, the preservation of the building is too expensive. Were presented instead, on the valuable building plans for a huge building complex with residential and office high – rise buildings plus shopping centre, should be in the in-between is also a place for a new national theatre. The contract was awarded to the Danish architect Bjarke Ingels. To save the ever-ailing state finances, should the project be financed originally through a so-called Public-Private Partnership. It was only in February 2020 was decided, for the national theatre of public money to provide.

do not Listen to the protests of the EU and civil society: Premier Edi Rama.Photo: Henry Nicholls (Reuters)

Against these plans a colorful Alliance for the protection of the theatre came together in the spring of 2018. To be met actions and performances, first weekly, later daily around the theater building. As the demolition plans solidified, was occupied by the house in July 2019. The Protest was directed against all sorts of inconsistencies and in the award of the construction project. The theatre building had been removed suddenly from the monument protection list. The opponents criticized that the construction of the building, a special law was adopted in order to be able to public basic easier to privatize. The President of Ilir Meta spoke of a “law for the benefit of the oligarchs” and refused to sign it.

the Opposition is calling for the overthrow of the government

What began as a Protest to save the national theatre, however, was soon over. Debates about democracy and social grievances such as the widespread corruption in the country. The Opposition, and also because it sees this Protest is a possibility for the weakening of the head of government Rama. The itself had begun as an artist and later as mayor of Tirana in order has caused a stir with that he let the run-down facades of the capital city in colorful colors. Today, he explains, a minority of actors and politicians could not take the country hostage. The demolition of the old national theatre was part of a Plan to make Tirana a “modern European city”.

He didn’t listen to the protests of the EU delegation in Tirana, which had called for dialogue between the government and the civil society. Were accompanied the Bulldozer according to the Reports, around 1500 police officers who went in hard against the protesters. The theater building is now to protect. But the political battle continues. The leader of the opposition Democratic party Lulzim Basha has called for the overthrow of the government due to the demolition.

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