[WATCH] Civil society assembles in Valletta for first national protest of 2020

Repubblika President Vicki Ann Cremona says Repubblika does not see the scope of becoming a political party but will remain a force for the rule of law

Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday
Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday

Civil society groups have organised the first national and anti-corruption protest of 2020 in Valletta on Sunday. The protest, themed New Republic New Malta, was organised by NGO Repubblika, Occupy Justice and Manuel Delia.

The protest comes just five days before Repubblika is to host an extraordinary general council for its members on 11 January where it could be implied that a new political party might be borne out of the vocal and insistent NGO that has been drawing thousands of people to the continuous protests it has organised since November.

A smaller turnout than in previous protests
A smaller turnout than in previous protests

However, Repubblika's Vicki Ann Cremona laid rest to that implication, saying that "Repubblika doesn't see the scope of becoming a political party but will remain a force for the rule of law." Instead, the extraordinary general council, she said, will discuss the way forward for the NGO.

Manuel Delia added in his speech that the situation Malta is in presently is due to the political parties in Malta. "Whoever says that we're becoming a new political party hasn't understood anything. This isn't a game. This is the fight for Malta's soul. We don't need another party."

The protest started at around 3pm in Freedom Square outside parliament where protestors, holding banners decrying the Joseph Muscat administration, walked the length of Republic Street to the square outside the law courts. Though drawing large numbers, the protest was arguably smaller in size than previous demonstrations.

Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday
Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday

The first anti-corruption concert featuring indie bands like Brikkuni, Cikku l-Poplu, Beangrowers, and Lapes is taking place outside the law courts. X Factor Malta judge Alexandra Alden is also a performer. 

Alden was criticised by Valletta Cultural Agency Chairman Jason Micallef who referred to her as a "Lady Gaga wannabe" after she announced her interest to perform this week. 

She responded by saying that her appearance at the national protest was not a sign of partisanship. 

Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday
Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday

Valletta was not overburdened with metal barricades this time around as the deterrent was only used outside parliament and outside the law courts. The police presence wasn't too heavy either. The organisers of the protest were collecting money for future protests.

Former Nationalist Party leader Simon Busuttil, PN MEP David Casa, and PN MP Karol Aquilina were among the protestors. 

The crowd became more substantial by the time Repubblika members started their speeches
The crowd became more substantial by the time Repubblika members started their speeches

Speeches from civil society group members preceded the concert. Vicki Ann Cremona from Repubblika called for Joseph Muscat and "his criminal gang" to leave from parliament and any form of power in Malta.

Delia, in his speech, crticised Jason Micallef. "His is the intimidation of the State. Jason Micallef is ignorant and inept and he supposedly has the keys to our culture in his hands. He is a cretin from top to bottom." 

Manuel Delia (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Manuel Delia (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)

He added that artists like Alexandra Alden and the bands that would play at the protest had no intention of cosying up to politicians and their job, besides entertainment, was to criticise and underline a society's wounds.

Delia ended his speech by using Joseph Muscat's own 2013 slogan: 'Malta Taghna Lkoll' (Malta For All). "This is where democracy begins, in the streets of Valletta. To the people who think they can control the country and think they have a right to rule, 'Malta Taghna Lkoll.'"

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