Protesters fined over ‘Israeli Apartheid’ banner

Court finds three members of the Network for Palestinian Solidarity guilty of disobeying police orders after unfurling banner in solidarity of Palestinians during football match.

Three members of the Network for Palestinian Solidarity have been fined by Magistrate Consuelo Scerri Herrera after being found guilty of disobeying police orders while unfurling a banner that read ‘Stop Israeli Apartheid’ during a football match at Ta’ Qali in May.

The banner, unfurled during the match between Malta and Israel, was aimed at the Israeli government’s occupation of Palestinians in Gaza.

The football match, a World Cup Tournament qualifier, was free and open to the public.

Police ordered the protesters to cease their action and also took down their particulars, while an Italian photographer who was taking pictures of the protest was arrested when he could not provide any identifying details when asked for his particulars.

On Thursday, three members of the Network for Palestinian Solidarity, namely Chris Mizzi, Luke Buhagiar, and Fredrick Abdilla, were charged with refusing to obey police orders and of breaching public peace.

Magistrate Scerri Herrera found the men guilty of refusing to obey police orders to put the banner down during the protest and fined them €30 each.

The accused were however acquitted of breaching public peace, with the Magistrate insisting that “they did nothing wrong.”

Lawyer Alex Sciberras represented the accused.

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