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[WATCH] Second national demonstration in honour of killed journalist

The Civil Society Network reiterated its demand for the Attorney General and Police Commissioner to resign, as well as for the government to undertake a serious process of constitutional reform

yannick_pace tia_reljic
Yannick Pace / Tia Reljic
29 October 2017, 4:00pm
Demonstrators are walking along the Sliema promenade demanding justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia
Demonstrators are walking along the Sliema promenade demanding justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia
Second national demonstration in honour of killed journalist
Second national demonstration in honour of killed journalist
A second demonstration being held in wake of journalist Daphe Caruana Galizia's murder two weeks ago is underway in Sliema this afternoon. Caruana Galizia was killed in a car bomb attack on 16 October.

The demonstration is being organised by the Civil Society Network, which has continued to insist on the resignation of the Police Commissioner and the Attorney General, whose inaction, it claims, has allowed for the development of a culture of impunity, This, they say, was one of the contributing factors in Caruana Galizia’s death. The Civil Society Network is also emphasising the need for constitutional reform.

Walking along the Sliema promenade, as well as through the street, the demonstrators blew whistles, shouting "shame, shame!", and "justice justice" as they walked by.

(Photo: James Bianchi/Mediatoday)
(Photo: James Bianchi/Mediatoday)
(Photo: James Bianchi/Mediatoday)
(Photo: James Bianchi/Mediatoday)
Jacques Rene Zammit, Jurgen Balzan, Andrew Borg Cardona, Claudia Taylor East and Josef Vella, then addressed the demonstration

Jacques Rene Zammit

Jacques Rene Zammit, through a message read out by Antonio Tufigno, said nothing could be the same after Caruana Galizia’s killing adding that civil society had now risen from its a long slumber.

“While we are living in a time of an economic surplus, we are also living in a time of civic and social deficit,” said Zammit.

He said that many were now speaking about the rule of law, which he said meant everyone in the country, from the weakest to the most powerful, should be held to account in the same way.

“Why did it need to take the brutal killing of a journalist for us to be talking about these reforms,” asked Zammit, adding that Caruana Galizia’s children wanted the country to return to a state where citizens can feel free and unafraid, and where the rule of law was supreme.

“For this to happen civil society, needs to stand up and be counted, and to grow and believe in what it is proposing,” said Zammit. “We are here because the state, in the broad sense of the word, no longer serves the country, but is increasingly serving the few.”

(Photo: James Bianchi/Mediatoday)
(Photo: James Bianchi/Mediatoday)
(Photo: James Bianchi/Mediatoday)
(Photo: James Bianchi/Mediatoday)
(Photo: James Bianchi/Mediatoday)
(Photo: James Bianchi/Mediatoday)
(Photo: James Bianchi/Mediatoday)
(Photo: James Bianchi/Mediatoday)
Zammit insisted that Caruana Galizia’s murder could not be forgotten and that people had an obligation to reject the idea that civil society’s calls for justice somehow represented an obstacle to “some politician’s roadmap”.

“We are here as a first important step for a country that wishes to go back to the rule of law,” he said.

Claudia Taylor East

Claudia Taylor East said civil society was demanding the highest standards at a time when the country was experiencing a decline in such standards. She questioned whether the media was really serving the country.

“I appeal to journalists to follow in the example of serious journalism in their quest for the truth,” said Taylor East.

She said people should not live in a society dominated by hate-speech and should not create a society where “love is useless”.

“What happened should never be accepted as something typical of our country,” she said.

Jurgen Balzan

Jurgen Balzan said people were right to be angry at the fact that the state failed to protect a journalist, and at the collusion between politics, money and criminality.

“Let nobody tell you what you should be feeling…at this moment we can’t remain neutral.”

Balzan said that an active civil society would always be a torn in the sides of power.

“It is not an exaggeration to say there is a law for the gods and a law for animals in this country,” said Balzan, pointing to what he said was declining faith in the institutions like the police and the courts.

(Photo: James Bianchi/Mediatoday)
(Photo: James Bianchi/Mediatoday)
(Photo: James Bianchi/Mediatoday)
(Photo: James Bianchi/Mediatoday)
He said there was a surplus of opportunism and greed in the country, of secrecy and a lack of transparency, and a surplus of partisan politics.

“Unity can only take place when nobody remains above the law. We can only have unity when we beat the culture that everything and everyone is for sale.”

Ultimately, said Balzan, the political class was just a reflection of the people, who had an obligation to strive for a better Malta.

Balzan said that both parties had hijacked the country’s institutions, and that it was up to citizens to take it back.

“We can only do this is if we take off our partisan blinkers,” he said. “We must work for truly independent institutions that protect our interest.”

He insisted that while the political class’ power was temporary, that of the nation was supreme.

Andrew Borg Cardona

Andrew Borg Cardona said that while it was being claimed that those protesting Caruana Galizia’s killing where damaging the country’s reputation, it was in fact the Prime Minister, through this style leadership, who had failed both Caruana Galizia and the country.

A few minutes into his speech, an activist handed Borg Cardona a banana before jumping off the stage. The activist had his information taken by the police following the stunt.

(Photo: James Bianchi/Mediatoday)
(Photo: James Bianchi/Mediatoday)
(Photo: James Bianchi/Mediatoday)
(Photo: James Bianchi/Mediatoday)
(Photo: James Bianchi/Mediatoday)banana by one member of Moviment Graffitti as he started speaking -
(Photo: James Bianchi/Mediatoday)banana by one member of Moviment Graffitti as he started speaking -
He hit out at Education minister Evarist Bartolo, who he said had implied that Caruana Galizia’s assassination had been ordered to distract from the “good work” being carried out while the government, as well as Home Affairs minister Michael Farrugia, who had downplayed Caruana Galizia’s murder, “and almost made it seem as though she had died by accident”.

She said that ultimately all those that had denigrated Caruana Galizia and who had used hate-speech against her, as well as those who had called her an “insignificant blogger” and those who had frozen her assets were responsible for her murder.

Josef Vella

UHM boss, Josef Vella appealed to an end of partisan approach to politics in Malta, and said that nobody should remain under the illusion that Caruana Galizia was killed for her sytle of writing.

“This killing did not take place in isolation but within the context of Daphne hitting the nail on the head with her writings about politicians,” said Vella, insisting that Caruana Galizia’s murder could not be considered to be anything but a political assassination.

He said that in the fact of the current situation, the nation could not afford to be apathetic.

(Photo: James Bianchi/Mediatoday)
(Photo: James Bianchi/Mediatoday)
(Photo: James Bianchi/Mediatoday)
(Photo: James Bianchi/Mediatoday)
“The impact will not only be political, but also economic,” he said. “The damage to the country’s reputation would also impact Maltese workers.”

He insisted that indifference would endanger the country’s democracy, a democracy which the country had fought very hard to obtain over the years.

“We are here to bring a message of hope…the wish that the government will bring down the bridge of dialogue,” said Vella. 

A crooked and deadly system – Moviment Graffitti

The pressure group Moviment Graffitti is also present at the demonstration, insisting that “politically partisan actions and discourse at this juncture are very harmful and will only serve to reinforce one of the greatest ills of our country – the PLPN unfettered control over every social and political space in Malta”.

Graffitti’s presence irked a number of those present at the protest.

In a statement, the group stressed that meaningful change would only come about if the country went beyond the resignation of individual figures, and if it asked “uncomfortable questions” about the country’s political and economic model.

While stressing that Caruana Galizia would probably still have been murdered regardless of the who the Attorney General or Police Commissioner were, Moviment Graffitti said it agreed with calls for both to step down, since it was clear “these two figures do not enjoy the level of trust necessary to guarantee not only justice, but also its perception”.

"We need to provide a truly non-partisan space in this protest. We received comments that unfortunately people were misrepresented because those behind the Civil Society Network are part of the Nationalist Party or affiliated with it and we need to show that there are people who are neither PN or PL. we truly need a change from both parties," said Erica Schembri from Moviment Graffitti.

yannick_pace
Yannick joined MaltaToday as a journalist in 2016. His main areas of interest are politics...
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Tia Reljic joined MaltaToday in 2017