Grech rallies support for Monday protest, claims Police Commissioner and PL want to ‘shut you up’

PN and Opposition Leader Bernard Grech criticised Angelo Gafà for ordering the arrest of the young man who hung a banner demanding justice for construction victim Jean Paul Sofia and accused him of wanting people to be silenced along with the government

Bernard Grech Speaking at Ġnien l-Istazzjon, Birkirkara on Sunday morning
Bernard Grech Speaking at Ġnien l-Istazzjon, Birkirkara on Sunday morning

Updated at 3:34pm with the Police statement

Bernard Grech accused Police Commissioner Angelo Gafà of ordering the arrest of the young man who hung banner demanding justice for construction victim Jean Paul Sofia to “silence him.”

Speaking at Ġnien l-Istazzjon, Birkirkara on Sunday morning, Grech criticised Gafà for sending officers to “arrest a youth who had stood up to be counted.”

On Monday a youth hung the banner on top of the arcades at Valletta’s city gate opposite parliament. Later on the same day, the Opposition leader said in Parliament the youth was arrested just moments after the banner was hung.

A police spokesperson told MaltaToday the police had received a report that a person, wearing a hoodie and a mask, was acting suspiciously in the environs of parliament.

The spokesperson said the youth fled the scene when police approached him. The fact that he fled, raised further suspicion prompting the police to stop the man.

He was taken to the police station for questioning, and released immediately when it was established there was nothing sinister about his actions.

However, Grech still believes the police commissioner ordered his arrest to silence him, “as he felt the man was dangerous.”

In an attempt to rally people for the Workers' Day mass protest, Grech said people should also stand to be counted for the protest to show Abela, “no one will shut us up."

“The commissioner, Abela, and a PL government try to silence the small fish that are trying to be heard and show they have been hurt,” Grech added.

Grech also accused Robert Abela of defending Steward Healthcare before and after a court annulled the controversial hospitals' privatisation deal originally signed with Vitals.

"This is the situation we've found ourselves in... if you're powerful, corrupt and criminal you do business with [prime minister] Robert Abela and he defends you.”

In February, a court condemned Steward Health Care, which took over the hospitals' concession from Steward Healthcare.

The PN leader made a brief mention of the country’s debt, which according to him,  “continues to increase by millions, so much so that it almost doubled under a Government led by Robert Abela.”

Bernard Grech went on to say that while the Labour Government destroys the country, the PN promises that it will work for the Maltese and Gozitans.

“PN is the only remaining shield for workers, while Abela continues to milk them.”

Turning back to Monday’s protest, ‘Nagħtu s-Saħħa lill-Ħaddiem’ (giving strength to workers), Grech invited all those who believe Malta deserves better to join in celebrating workers while protesting the Labour government's abandonment of workers.

The police deny Grech's claims

In a statement, the Police denied that the Police Commissioner sent officers to arrest the young man.

Referring to comments given to MaltaToday, the police said they already explained how they acted on the report of several residents.

“The police did not proceed against the youth after the investigation showed the facts,” the statement read.