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NEWS: Protest On The Streets – Mjaft!

Tirana is the city of crazy double and triple parking. Stickers are circulating so frustrated residents can attach them to these road-blockers:

sample-stickerThe stickers read: “I park like an idiot.” This quiet activism provides fun and a vent for frustration. This recalls some of the protest art and theatrics of Albania’s Mjaft! movement over the past ten years. In Albania a decade ago, after dictatorship, anarchy and corruption people were afraid to protest. To provoke and encourage citizens to get engaged the Mjaft! movement took protest art and theatre into public spaces.

They raised issues about infrastructure, economy, health, education and corruption. Their mockery of  authority removed the self-censorship that had been created by fear. It got media and government attention using tactics such as: setting up a fake bakery at Parliament to sell cut-price bread to protest inflation, erecting Attention, No-one Working signs, dressing as brides to mock the Prime Minister’s demand that his wife be called ‘First Lady.’

The following photographs depict them placing empty plastic chairs outside parliament to mock ineffective councilors.  Washing symbols of politicians in soapy water to highlight corrupt ministers and walking a donkey to Parliament saying “ignorance costs nothing” to protest education cuts.

mjaft2 ??????????????????????????????? mjaft doneyThese striking images grabbed media and government attention like nothing before. By mocking and questioning – their ideas spread. The group gave voice to students, journalists, miners, fishermen, health workers and political prisoners. Campaigns increased education funding, fair working conditions and lower power charges and forced out corrupt politicians. But their biggest success was to hit the public with the idea that protest was alive, it had meaning – it worked.

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This entry was posted on July 31, 2014 by in Art and tagged , , , , , , , .
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