[WATCH] Civil society holds protest calling for Mizzi, Schembri resignations

Protestors gather in Valletta to call for the resignation of minister Konrad Mizzi and OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri 

Crowds gather outside Parliament to protest against Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri
Crowds gather outside Parliament to protest against Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri
People gather outside Parliament ahead of civil society protest
People gather outside Parliament ahead of civil society protest
Moviment Graffiti activists make their presence known at the civil society protest
Moviment Graffiti activists make their presence known at the civil society protest
Protestors gather in Valletta to call for the resignation of minister Konrad Mizzi and OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri

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A few hundred people have answered civil society's call to protest for the resignation of minister Konrad Mizzi and OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri following revelations of their offshore interests.

The Valletta protest, led by civil society activists organised by sociologist Michael Briguglio, started at 10pm in front of Parliament. No speeches will be held, but the organisers are encouraging attendees to bring banners and flags to the protests. 

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil, Alternattiva Demokratika chairperson Arnold Cassola and independent MP Marlene Farrugia have attended today’s protest. 

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil attends protest organised by the Civil Society Network
Opposition leader Simon Busuttil attends protest organised by the Civil Society Network
Opposition leader Simon Busuttil, his partner Kristina Chetcuti and opposition leader Simon Busuttil
Opposition leader Simon Busuttil, his partner Kristina Chetcuti and opposition leader Simon Busuttil

Opposition MPs Karl Gouder, Claudette Buttigieg and Francis Zammit, PN secretary general Rosette Thake, TV presenter Salvu Mallia, Union Haddiema Maghqudin director Jesmond Bonello, and activists from pressure group Moviment Graffiti are also present. 

Former MEP candidate Zaren Bonnici of Tal-Ajkla also made an appearance.

Artists, activists and civil society exponents have also attended. 

The civil society network welcomed the participation of individuals and organisations from all sides of the political and social spectrum.

"Those attending have stood up to be counted in the call for the resignation of Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri due to their involvement in Panama Papers. Persons in similar situation in other democracies resigned immediately. Malta should be no exception," Briguglio said.

"We are simply demanding what is normal and obvious in a democratic society: politicians and politically exposed persons should not be associated with tax havens and dubious financial dealings, as this can result in conflict of interest. This can also have long-term political and social repercussions such as distrust in politics and normalization of corrupt practices."

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has so far ignored calls for Mizzi and Schembri’s resignations after the Panama Papers leak confirmed that both hold offshore companies in Panama. Instead, he decided to strip Mizzi off his energy and health portfolios but maintain him as a minister within the Office of the Prime Minister, who will be tasked with major projects, including the completion of the LNG power station project. Muscat’s decision, announced as part of a Cabinet reshuffle, has been dismissed as a “farce” by Simon Busuttil.

A no confidence motion against Mizzi put forward by independent MP Marlene Farrugia failed earlier this week, with all government MPs voting against it. 

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