Today, 20 January 2018, a large crowd of Cham took to the streets in Dürres to raise awareness for the Cham cause and to protest against the visit of the Greek foreign minister Kotzias who is on an official visit to Albania to meet with the Albanian government. The Cham people, lead by the president of the Republic of Chameria Festim Lato planned an organised protest, which was deliberately hindered by the Albanian police.
The many Cham people in Albania are closely following the political relations between the Greek and Albanian government and had been preparing for a peaceful protest on 20 January 2018 on the occasion of the visit of the Greek foreign minister Kotzias to Albania.
The activities of the Cham have always been in the open and in compliance with the laws of Albania. Many peaceful demonstrations organised by the president of the Republic of Chameria Festim Lato to gain freedom for Chameria have been held in the past years, months and weeks. However, today the Albanian police received orders from the government to hinder the democratic rights of the Cham to hold peaceful protests.
Cham from a dozen cities had planned to come to the city of Dürres to join their fellow Cham activists to hold one of the biggest protests of the year. However, the police stopped many busses from other cities like Vlorë from taking off. The Cham from those cities were therefore unable to participate in these demonstrations and had to watch the news to see their fellow brethren demonstrate on the streets of Dürres.
Despite the fact that many Cham were unable to come to Dürres, several thousand Cham activists waving flags from Chameria and supporting countries like the USA and Holland made the voice of the Cham people heard; the Greek and Albanian government should show that they are truly European by respecting the European values and open a political dialogue to resolve the Cham issue and bring peace and justice to the region.
Festim Lato, the president of the Republic of Chameria, will continue his struggle for historical justice for Chameria.