A protest against curruption led by civil society groups Repubblika and Occupy Justice was held in Valletta.
The protest was called after OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri last Monday withdrew a libel suit which he himself had instituted against former PN leader Simon Busuttil after he (Schembri) did not want to answer questions when he took the witness stand.
The libel had been filed in 2016 after Busuttil spoke on the way Schembri and Minister Konrad Mizzi had set up secretive offshore structures while in office, something revealed by journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia a few days prior.
Schembri withdrew the case as he did not want to answer questions about the company 17 Black, which leaked emails identified as being the main source of income for his Panama company, Tillgate. He later said he was answering these questions in magisterial inquiries.
Many have seen Schembri’s withdrawal of the case as a result of his fear about being questioned about the company and its dealings. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has kept faith in his chief of staff, noting that he had chosen not to reply due to inquiries into the subject which are currently ongoing.
Photos Michael Camilleri
Immediately after the news, Repubblika and Occupy Justice announced that the activity that is normally held on the 16th day of every month in remembrance of Caruana Galizia, who was killed in a car bomb on 16 October 2017, protest, was to be preceded by a protest against corruption.
The groups said that the best way to honour the slain journalist’s memory is to convert sorrow into protest against “crooks” who must pay for what they have done.
The Nationalist Party, Democratic Party, and Alternattiva Demokratika said they will back the protest, but Repubblika warned that parties should not seek to be the protagonists of the protest.
Present for the activity was PN leader Adrian Delia, accompanied by secretary general Clyde Puli. This was the first protest organized by Repubblika that the PN attended.
PD meanwhile said that they will also be protesting against PN leader Adrian Delia, who, they said, has is not fit to replace Schembri given that he is reportedly under investigation for money laundering as well.
The protest started from Parliament and proceeded to Great Siege Square, where a vigil took place near the Great Siege national monument, which has been used as a memorial to Caruana Galizia since her assassination.
Walking behind a banner with the words “Le ghall-korruzzjoni” (no to corruption), the protesters shouted for “justice” and that crooks should “get out” (barra).
Many carried placards decrying Malta as a “mafia state”, “truth and justice” or saying “they’re robbing our children of their future”.