[WATCH] Angry protestors surround justice minister’s car outside Parliament

Protestors outside House shout ‘corrupt, corrupt’ and ‘justice’ as they prevent Owen Bonnici’s ministerial vehicle from leaving Parliament

Protestors surrounded Owen Bonnici's ministerial car outside Parliament
Protestors surrounded Owen Bonnici's ministerial car outside Parliament
Angry protestors surround Justice Minister's car outside Parliament

Angry protestors surrounded justice minister Owen Bonnici’s ministerial car as it attempted to drive away from Parliament on Wednesday evening when an otherwise peaceful demonstration turned noisy and rough.

Protestors were gathered outside Parliament after having attended a protest call by NGO Repubblika in the aftermath of the Tumas Group director Yorgen Fenech’s arrest that same morning. Protestors called for the removal of the prime minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri and tourism minister Konrad Mizzi - both implicated in the Panama Papers and associated with the Electrogas project in which Fenech had a stake - and Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

Justice Minister Owen Bonnici inside the ministerial car as it slowly made its way out of the angry crowd
Justice Minister Owen Bonnici inside the ministerial car as it slowly made its way out of the angry crowd

But the noisy protest turned rough when the minister and parliamentary secretary Aaron Farrugia exited Parliament and entered a ministerial car. Protestors surrounded the vehicle and banged on it as police looked on, unable to control the angry crowd.

Protest placards were placed on the vehicle, which was prevented from driving away. Protestors shouted “corrupt, corrupt”, “mafia”, “out”, and called for justice to be served.

After several intense minutes the car finally drove away. At one point former PN leader Simon Busuttil tried to pacify the crowd to allow the car free passage, intervening in front of the vehicle and attempting to free up passage.

But one protestor took exception at Busuttil’s attempt, in what instantly degenerated as a confrontation between demonstrators as the car started moving.

A female police officer was injured after the car drove onto her leg in the midst of the melee.

Justice minister Owen Bonnici called out the mob of protestors who surrounded his ministerial car in a Facebook post posted the next day on Thursday morning.

Bonnici said he witnessed “banging on all sides of the car, forceful blocking, kicking on the car and scratches, punching on the glass, spitting and lewd gestures, angry faces and threats” in a Facebook post.

“This will not dampen our will to work for a better country. Our duty is to take Malta forward, create wealth and distribute it justly. This has to take place in a climate of serenity and calm.”

Bonnici insisted that Malta’s institutions were carrying out their job and had shown that there was no impunity in Malta.

“I want to thank all the members of the police corps who yesterday protected us, especially Inspector Priscilla Caruana Lee and PC Darren Darmanin, who in the commotion were unfortunately injured.”

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