As the 6th national opposition protest fast approaches, the OSCE Ambassador, Bernd Borchardt, has once again brought attention to the Molotov bombs that were used by citizens in recent rallies.

“Peaceful protests must prevail over violent reactions”, said the Head of the OSCE's presence during an activity on the role of youth in democracy.

“In Albania, we have seen the impact of young people's commitment and ideals.

“Young people are naturally the engine for idealism and progress in society. Young people are more energetic and less cynical; they have bigger dreams and less patience.

“Throughout history, young people have been prominent in all of the popular movements that have challenged rotten political systems and secured advances in human rights.

“Young Albanians drove the campaign against the import of waste. Young people applied their energy and their creativity to protest against hydro-projects in the country's beautiful protected regions.

“And at the end of last year, young people attracted widespread respect for their sustained and truly national campaign about educational standards and conditions.

“This was idealism combined with determination; radicalism combined with respectability.

“There is a stark difference between a sustained campaign of peaceful protest, active and sincere and genuinely popular, and a relatively small number of people attacking police with Molotov cocktails and doing damage to public and private property.

“Engaged young people are one powerful element of a civil society that should have a unique and vital role in monitoring and improving the health of democracy in Albania.

"The government needs a real opposition," adds Borchardt, "an opposition to criticize and challenge, to push the country to reform."

“Democracy is better if government is constantly scrutinized and challenged by a full team of legitimate players: civil society organizations and activists; a truly free and dynamic media; independent institutions; parliamentary committees.

“We continue to say to those inside and outside parliament - and we reinforce it with our practical work here - that the Government needs a more serious and more effective democratic opposition.

“The Government needs to be challenged and criticized; it needs to be pushed into the reforms that Albanians aspire to,” concluded the Head of the OSCE Presence in Albania, Bernd Borchardt.

For the third year in a row, Albania hosts the OSCE Presence's “Youth Trail”, an annual gathering of young people from around this region. The Ambassador asked them for a greater commitment in contributing to the development of democracy.