Activists hung padlocks symbolising assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia on the railings near the Great Siege Monument this morning in a message to opponents that their protest will not be halted in its tracks.
“Padlocks represent protection for something you care about deeply,” activist group Il-Kenniesa said. “This is why today we are placing a number of padlocks, or love locks as they are internationally known, with messages, reinstating our calls for justice and for a public inquiry. These padlocks will represent a more permanent mark that we are not moving; that our right to protest in a public space will continue as it should.”
The padlocks are marked with images of bay leaves, used to symbolise strength and courage.
On Christmas Eve we are at the Great Siege Monument to retierate our calls for a public inquiry into Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination. We urge authorities to safeguard the people’s right to freedom of expression. pic.twitter.com/nW0M9w82ix
— Il-Kenniesa (@Il_Kenniesa) December 24, 2018
The Great Siege Monument outside the law courts has become something of a political battleground since it reopened to the public earlier this month, with activists regularly laying flowers and candles to Caruana Galizia there an critics of the late journalist promptly removing them. Police are investigating two incidents, that of an elderly Valletta resident who banged his head on the floor after an altercation with Occupy Justice activists and that of a female Occupy Justice activist who was physically assaulted by a man after filming people shouting at her fellow activists.
Il-Kenniesa reiterated its call for a public inquiry into whether Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder could have been avoided, a suggestion the government has shot down on the grounds that it could clash with ongoing police investigations and court proceedings into her murder.
“A public inquiry is independent of the current ongoing trial in court or magisterial inquest,” the activist group said. “It is an urgently needed measure to assess whether Daphne’s murder could have been prevented and, from the lessons learnt, to ensure that this can never happen again. For this reason, Joseph Muscat’s “it’s not ‘if’ but ‘when’”, in relation to the public inquiry is not in the interest of the people or in safeguarding Malta’s free press, but rather in the interest of those with something to hide.”
“We are also appalled at how Joseph Muscat has allowed the situation at the protest memorial to degenerate by allowing the most basic right to freedom of expression to be trampled upon. When authority act dismissively towards people’s rights, others feel emboldened to harass, rip up posters and throw candles in the bin.”
“We strongly urge Joseph Muscat and his government to ensure that people’s rights are safeguarded in accordance with international and Maltese law. Our response to the removal of flowers from peaceful protests will result in more padlocks of truth and justice.”