[WATCH] ‘Patriot’ arrested after harassing media during protest

Police arrest man who shoved journalists during an anti-Islam protest in Msida organised by the Ghaqda Patrijotti Maltin 

A demonstrator (pictured) was arrested by police during Sunday's protest by the Ghaqda Patrijotti Maltin before being released shortly after
A demonstrator (pictured) was arrested by police during Sunday's protest by the Ghaqda Patrijotti Maltin before being released shortly after
 Protestors surrounded and verbally assaulted reporters during a demonstration by Ghaqda Patrijotti Maltin • Photos: Chris Mangion
Protestors surrounded and verbally assaulted reporters during a demonstration by Ghaqda Patrijotti Maltin • Photos: Chris Mangion
Protestors scuffle with photojournalists reporting the event (Videos:Maltatoday/Inews)

A supporter of the self-styled organisation of Maltese patriots (Ghaqda Patrijotti Maltin) was arrested after harassing members of the media during a protest in Msida against Muslims who have taken to praying in the village square.

The furore started as MaltaToday and iNews were interviewing Ivan Vella, a protestor holding a Maltese flag who was heard cursing Neil Falzon, director of human rights organisation Aditus.

However, organisers – including Patriots’ president Alex Pisani - repeatedly insisted that Vella was “not speaking in the organisation’s name”.  

“Did I say something wrong? I’m speaking about patriotism, which is nationalism at the end of the day,” Vella told his critics.

“I am making a historical geo-political statement,” Vella told the cameras. “The Muslims are saying that they don’t have enough places in which to pray. We understand the problem, and we know that there are between 35,000 and 45,000 Muslims in Malta…” 

Patriot president Alex Pisani and vice president Henry Battistino eventually stepped in to stop Vella from speaking.

“We [Ghaqda Patrijotti Maltin] are not responsible for certain things that you might say. Speak in your own personal capacity, and don’t claim to represent our organisation.” 

Protestors repeatedly claimed the press wanted to publicise Vella’s views so as to discredit the patriots’ organisation.  

As protestors surrounded the journalists a protestors repeatedly shoved the two photojournalists and one physically attempted to stop the Maltatoday cameraperson from filming them, by grabbing his his camera. After the journalists complained to the police and requested their protection, the officers stepped in and arrested the aggressive protestor after he refused to give them his personal details.  

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