Labour MPs were blocked inside the Parliament building for more than two hours as protests in Freedom Square in Valletta escalated.
Hundreds gathered in the square shouting “barra” (out) and “habs” (prison) as Labour MPs waited inside the main lobby.
Tension between MPs from the two political parties was high at some moments and the two groups were kept apart from each other.
The parliamentary sitting today finished two hours earlier than usual, at 5.30pm, and the next sitting is scheduled for Tuesday at 9am.
PN sources told this newsroom that the party is still deciding whether to attend tomorrow morning’s parliamentary sitting.
Observers noted that the morning session could be taken to mean that there is an attempt for Parliament to meet in the morning, when most people are at work, to avoid another protest.
Protesters are demanding the immediate resignation of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, who announced his resignation on Sunday but will only leave in January.
The protesters were held behind barriers at a safe distance from Parliament building, but the MPs could only leave more than hours after the end of the sitting, when most of the protesters left.
Some of the PN MPs, who had earlier left the chamber because they are boycotting all activities in which Muscat is present, joined the protesters.
In an anticipation of the protest, police also asked shops on Republic Street and Ordinance Street to close at 3pm.
Protesters have been taking to the streets in Valletta for the past days, demanding “justice for Daphne” and calling for political accountability.
The PM’s announced delayed resignation has only served to raise more anger as the protesters want him out now.
Sources told this newsroom that Prime Minister Muscat is believed to have exited through the tunnel before the ditch was blocked off by protesters.[embedded content]
While being blocked inside the Parliament building, some PL MPs together with their staff were taking selfies and posting them on their Facebook page. (see the video above)
Photos by Alenka Falzon. Videos by Alenka Falzon, Neil Camilleri and Giulia Magri