COVID measures are ‘terrorism by the state’, anti-vax protesters say

Just a score of protestors respond to calls for general strike over COVID-19 restrictive measures

Protest organiser Paul Chetcuti
Protest organiser Paul Chetcuti

Protestors have called for the end to restrictive measures related to the COVID-19 virus.

A day after hundreds attended in Valletta, a small number of protesters attended a strike on Monday to protest government measures which they are calling “unconstitutional and going against human rights”.  

The protest, attended by around 40 people, started at the Bombi area in Floriana, and protestors proceeded to the Curia and Police Station. The groups requests were handed over to the Church leadership and Police Commissioner respectively.

The same demands were also forwarded to Parliament and the Office of the Prime Minister.

“This is terrorism by the state, the police should investigate,” one of the organizers, Paul Chetcuti, said.

“The government’s rules are based purely on fantasy. They are using this fantasy to impose restrictions on unvaccinated persons and to those who refuse to receive the booster altogether.”

Chetcuti raised a number of issues, including what he called the illegality behind the PCR test, which according to him is not licensed for use, the lack of testing behind vaccines and the lack of “ethics” behind the booster.

“People should know if they are being used as an experiment for the big pharma companies,” he said.

He also accused the media of providing unfair coverage on the group’s actions.

“We have a population that is afraid to make their voices heard. But even if we’re four or five persons, it is still enough for us to make our voices heard. We are a democratic society and that gives you the freedom of speech,” he said.

Since the start of the pandemic, 502 people have died with COVID-19 in Malta. The island has recorded a vaccination rate of some 95%. Daily virus cases hit a record of 1,337 on December 29 but they have since dwindled to just 301 on Sunday, when two patients also died.

On Sunday, 17 establishments impacted by new vaccine rules filed a court case against new measures that will limit entry to restaurants, gyms, and bars to vaccinated people only. The establishments filed a warrant of prohibitory injunction on Sunday morning, with the first sitting scheduled for 28 January.

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The plaintiffs cite several clauses in the Constitution and the European Convention of Human Rights on discrimination, the right to work, and the right to enjoy family life.

A warrant of prohibitory injunction prevents a person or entity from doing anything that may be prejudicial to the person requesting such warrant. The applicant must prima facie prove that his rights were prejudiced to substantiate the issuance of such warrant.

The 17 parties are being represented by lawyers Arthur Azzopardi, Keith Borg, Eric Micallef Figallo, Clive Gerada and Franco Debono.

There is another case in court against the COVID-19 measures introduced last year. The constitutional court case filed by several individuals claiming that COVID restrictions were unconstitutional and breached human rights.

As from Monday, only fully vaccinated people will be allowed to access restaurants, cafes, gyms and other public places.

The vaccine will be mandatory for staff working in the hospitality sector who have direct contact with clients. Fearne said that there will be a grace period until February for staff who have not yet received their booster dose.

He said that there were no plans to make a certificate mandatory in other sectors or to introduce a mandatory vaccination. He made clear that there were no plans to make it mandatory in the health sector.

Hundreds of people protested in Valletta on Sunday against the new measures, while the Nationalist Party said that the regulations need to be improved to respect individual freedom.