Protesters Block Albania Kosovo Highway Rejecting New Toll Fee

Clashes at the new Toll Point on the Albania Kosovo Highway

Tirana, March 31 (Tirana Echo) – Hundreds of protesters from Albania’s northern towns and from Kosovo have protested today at Tirana’s decision to introduce a toll fee on the highway linking Albania and Kosovo.

Last week the Albanian government started charging a €10 Euro roundtrip fee for normal cars and up to €23 Euros for large trucks, in what is seen as a highly unpopular measure by travelers in both neighboring countries.

Last Thursday Albania’s prime minister Edi Rama said his government chose to pay for the road’s maintenance by charging its users and not all citizens of the country, adding that people from northern affected towns would not be exempt from the toll fee.

The opposition called on people to reject the new toll arguing they already pay enough taxes to the government which is obliged to maintain national roads.

Following a pile of negative reactions on both sides of the border, hundreds of protesters gathered today at the toll point throwing stones at the police and burning down the toll cabins.

Clashes between police and protesters near the Kalimash tunnel have left at least 3 wounded, while the road block continues with demonstrators calling for the prime minister to resign.

The “Nation’s Road” highway which was built in 2009 boasts a 5.5km tunnel and has yet to be completed in certain areas of the Albanian side, around the northern city of Kukës and close to the border with Kosovo.

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