Daphne Caruana Galizia billboards, banners taken down overnight

A decision by the authorities to take down billboards and banners calling for justice in the case investigating the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has been described as the act of a regime using its power to trample on basic freedoms

The billboards and banners were taken down on Friday night
The billboards and banners were taken down on Friday night

The removal on Friday night of a number of billboards calling for justice in the case investigating the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia was proof of the regime using its power to suppress criticism, protesters said.

Occupy Justice, which had set up the three billboards and banners on Thursday night, four months to the day after the journalist was killed in a car bomb, said that the enforcement overnight “was another episode of the regime using its power to trample on the basic freedoms of those who would criticise it”.

The government may have had every reason at law to enforce the removal of billboards but it had neglected those reasons every day before yesterday, the group said in a statement.

“It decided to enforce yesterday because our Ebbing, Missouri style protest billboards went up that same morning.”

The billboards and banners set up were reminiscent of those in the Oscar-nominated film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, in which a mother seeks justice for her murdered daughter.

Occupy Justice said that the government was warning all businesses that providing a service to civil society would bring retribution.

“This surprises no one,” the statement read. “The climate of fear that has gripped the nation is justified by the discriminate application of the law to serve the interests of the powerful.”

The authorities, it said, had chosen a Friday night to carry out its enforcement, causing traffic chaos and inconvenience, "to combine its vile act of suppression with our gathering in Valletta at the Daphne Caruana Galizia memorial".

The group said that the government's zeal in enforcing planning laws on removable billboards yesterday contrasted with its eagerness to drown the country in cement and shadows.

“The government's zeal for enforcement of the law contrasts with the protection it gives to people who should evidently be investigated and perhaps indicted namely: Keith Schembri, Konrad Mizzi.” 

On Friday, around the world, there were other protests inspired by the Ebbing, Missouri billboards. A London protest called for justice for victims of the Grenfell Tower disaster. Florida activists called for justice for victims of weak gun control.

More in National

Get access to the real stories first with the digital edition

Subscribe