Albania Bans Nationalist Rally on the Anniversary of Katsifas Killing



    The late Konstantinos Katsifas, who was shot in Albania in October of 2018

    Albanian police announced on Wednesday that it has banned nationalist groups from staging a rally on the Greek border to prevent mourners traveling to the country in order to attend commemoration services for Konstantinos Katsifas.

    The 35-year-old ethnic Greek Albanian national was shot by Albanian special forces in 2018.

    The demonstration had been announced on social networks, where Albanian nationalists called on their compatriots to react to the entry of Greek “extremists” into Albania to commemorate Katsifas on October 26, the first anniversary of his death.

    “We invite all patriots to protest and block the border in Kakavia (the main border point between the two countries) in order to prevent Greek extremists from entering Albania,” the social media post said.

    The killing of Katsifas led to a deterioration in bilateral relations, with Athens suspecting Tirana of using excessive force against the 35-year-old ethnic Greek man.

    He was shot dead by the ”Rinea,” the Albanian special forces, near the village of Burat (Vouliarates), close to the Greek-Albanian border after an exchange of fire. The police had been attempting to arrest Katsifas for allegedly raising a Greek flag and shooting into the air during the ”OXI Day” celebrations.

    Katsifas presented a patriotic profile on his personal Facebook page by posting photographs of the Greek flag and other photos of himself wearing military uniforms.