Tensions rise between Greeks and Albanians in Northern Epirus

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The tourist season in Northern Epirus in southern Albania, specifically in the Greek town of Himarra (Χειμάρρα, Albanian: Himarë) may turn into a conflict between the indigenous Greeks of the region, and Albanian authorities and the mafia this year. This is in addition to the coronavirus pandemic and an increase number of robberies against the local Greeks, reported SM Analysis.

Real estate registration has begun, a task strictly monitored by the EU, but instead of transparency, the residents of Himarra are facing many complaints as the informal process favours Albanians and not the residents of the indigenous Greek minority.

With the unconstitutional powers given by the Albanian parliament, the state police in Himarra receive dozens of complaints daily, due to Albanians taking property belonging to the indigenous Greeks of Himarra.

The state police, which took over justice and prosecution, side with the Albanians who are illegally seizing property. The allegations were made at the gates of the Himarra police station as mafia from Tirana began monitoring the lands claimed by Albanians so they can use them to hide black money.

Meanwhile, Top Channel, one of Albania's biggest television station, has launched an information campaign for complaints about residents of Himarra whose property was confiscated from Albanians, and targeting government spokesmen and real estate agencies that are corrupt.

The Himarra region generates about 500 million euros in tourism revenue for the Albanian economy, but only about 10% of it benefits the indigenous Greek minority and about 90% goes to Albanian oligarchy and mafia that control all the assets of the coast.

Himarra is one of the most northern towns of Northern Epirus that is historically Greek but was awarded to the newly formed Albanian state after the Balkan Wars in the early 20th century despite the Greek Army liberating the majority-Greek region.