’72 hours in a cell only because my face was caught on camera’, protestor details his arrest

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This is Bislim Lakna – a protestor, amongst the many who were arrested by police during the recent price hike rallies in Tirana.

He had to stay in confinement for a period of 72 hours. During an interview for Euronews Albania, he talked about the moment of his arrest during the first rally on March 9.

“When they arrested us, we were just leaving from the protest. Meanwhile, at the station, they presented us with 4 charges, namely mischief, rioting, disturbing public order, and obstruction of traffic,” – he said.

When asked about how his family received the news of his arrest, Bislim said that “This wasn’t the first time this happened to me and my family is used to this by now, but they were definitely worried”.

According to the young activist, he should have been released way before the 72-hour-timeframe.

“I was waiting for my release paperwork to go through. Then, an officer calls me up and tells me that 5 of us were on camera, and after an order from above, we would now have to stay in jail for another 72 hours,” – he said.

Bislim works as a food delivery motorist in Tirana but with his current salary, he finds it difficult to sustain his family and the recent price hikes haven’t helped.

“I have a new family and these price hikes are hurting our pockets tremendously,” – he added.

Bislim has been engaged in social activism for some time now and has participated in many protests.

After his release, he said that he won’t be discouraged and will continue to join in the people’s effort to convince the government to come out with a reasonable economic relief package for the current crisis.

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