Ethnic Macedonians and Greeks in Albania have joined forces against official Tirana which has undertaken steps of intimidation against the minorities living there.
According to article 20 of the Census law, there is a $1,000 fine for each citizen who at the census will declare themselves anything other than what was written down on their birth certificate. If this is not intimidating, Albania has said it would jail citizens that would refuse to declare or be counted in the census.
In other words you can say you are Albanian, or the other option is $1,000 fine or jail?
"Official Tirana attempts to hide the true number of Macedonians. They recognize Macedonians in Mala Pespa, but there are plenty of Macedonians in Gora, Golo Brdo, Korcha, Elbasan, Tirana, Drach, Bilista etc" says Edmond Temelko, president of the Macedonian political party.
The Greek minority in Albania agrees with the Macedonian party.
"Albania's census law is discriminatory and inhumane. We have already said that articles 20 and 21 of the Census laws are unacceptable for us. How do you punish and fine someone for declaring their own nationality or if we refuse to sign the census forms", says Tanas Kochi from Greek organization "Omonia".
Both the Macedonian and Greek organization have requested to have their own representatives in the census organization to make sure census numbers are not abused. At the very least the minorities have requested the census be delayed by six months until their demands are met.
Numerous minority groups in Albania claim their numbers are at least 30% of the population, or around 1 million.
Official Tirana puts its number of minorities at 80,000.