Valletta councillor wants removal of Daphne shrine, CSN to crowdfound new memorial

Labour councillor Ray Azzopardi says Caruana Galizia shrine is defacement of national monument

Flowers for Daphne Caruana Galizia at the foot of the Great Siege monument in Valletta
Flowers for Daphne Caruana Galizia at the foot of the Great Siege monument in Valletta

A Labour councillor in the Valletta local council has filed a motion for discussion that calls for the removal of the Daphne Caruana Galizia mementoes that have been placed on the Great Siege monument.

The national monument opposite the Maltese law courts was turned into a makeshift memorial for the assassinated journalist, who lost her life in a car bomb on 16 October, 2017.

“The monument is being abused, having been illegally affixed with papers and photos, which is why I ask the Valletta council to take a position with immediate effect and clean up what has been affixed onto this monument,” councillor Ray Azzopardi said.

“This is not a personal grave but a national monument that honours the people who fought in the Great Siege,” Azzopardi said, also making reference to the Criminal Code which lays down a €3,500 penalty and 18-month prison sentence for the defacement of monuments and statues.

“I’m asking the council to put into practice the rule of law if it really believes in it,” Azzopardi said. The motion was seconded by Mario Camenzuli.

The Civil Society Network, which organised the first national protests following Caruana Galizia’s murder, said it disagreed with the councillor’s approach.

“The memorial was erected by the people for the people in order to remind the public of the brutal assassination of the investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

“CSN is in the process of formally applying for a memorial in this square. The memorial will be a reminder and acknowledgement of Daphne Caruana Galizia to the present and future generations. A reminder of her work. And also a reminder that we are still awaiting justice. The memorial will be crowd-funded to remain truly of the people and for the people.”