‘They kicked us out of our homes’, 5 Maji residents: We never signed up for this!

Excerpt from Euronews Albania's story on '5 Maji' demolitions

Around 400 residential buildings will be demolished in the neighborhood known as 5 Maji in Tirana, following a government order. Hundreds of 5 Maji residents have now gathered as a collective and are asking for their voices to be heard, many of them claiming that they’ve lost their homes and are currently homeless.

According to public officials, these buildings are unsafe, after suffering damages during the 2019 earthquake, which is why they are asking to have them taken down.

The demolition plan began today, in the early morning hours, but excavator teams were faced with resistance from residents who refuse to leave their homes.

This has led to dozens of police officers getting deployed and surrounding the entire area to avoid possible incidents.

Several arrests were also made earlier today, following violent confrontations between distressed citizens and officers of the law.

Tirana’s City Hall had already given residents in the area an ultimatum – giving them until today January 19, to leave the premises.

However, citizens say they never reached an agreement with the City, nor did they sign any paperwork.

‘They cut off our power line at 04:00 AM. They then proceeded to force us out of our homes. They took all of our appliances, our clothes [the City]. We never signed anything. We kept submitting requests to the City Hall, the presidency. We never got an answer,” – said one of the citizens, whose house is getting demolished.

Meanwhile, another senior citizen living in this neighborhood, held back the tears as they told Euronews Albania that “today, they will have nowhere to go and be forced to sleep under the open sky”.