Direct action being undertaken by activist group Moviment Graffitti has entered its second week, with the group saying it has “no intention whatsoever” of going away.
For the last week, activists from the group have been camping out in a Dingli field that has been earmarked for the construction of a new road.
The Planning Authority said over the weekend that the road was a schemed one and that “Infrastructure Malta (IM), together with other state agencies, are exempt from requiring planning permission to carry out this specific type of development”.
Graffitti has on the other hand insisted that Infrastructure Malta requires a permit for the works since the road being proposed does not match the schemed road in the local plan.
In a statement this morning, Graffitti said:
“On Thursday, Moviment Graffitti issued a public call for dialogue with the concerned authorities, highlighting how no official plans have been released whilst questioning the need for this road.
“So far, we can say that we have not received any formal request to meet and discuss the issue in a decent manner. We will not entertain requests for a meeting without residents and farmers present around the table, and not in hostile settings.”
Graffitti added that this was a divisive tactic employed by IM CEO Frederick Azzopardi, which Graffitti said has been tried and tested in countless other projects, “most notably Central Link”.
Despite proposing a neutral venue, the group said it had so far not received any response. “This means we will continue our actions in Dingli until the authorities stand down from their bullish posturing.”
Graffitti accused IM of not having the courage to “tell Dingli and residents what its plans were”.
“Instead it prefers the way of bullying, arrogance, and the use of heavy machinery to silence residents,” Graffitti said, adding that this was happening all over the island.
The group reiterated its call to Infrastructure Minister Ian Borg, as well as to Azzopardi, “to try, at least for once, the road of dialogue – a road they clearly need to learn how to build”.
Meetings with residents ongoing – Infrastructure Malta
In a reaction, Infrastructure Malta denied it had refused a meeting with Graffitti, adding that over the past weeks it had continued to hear residents’ concerns and had amended plans for the road accordingly.
“Following the press conference by Moviment Graffitti on Thursday (last week), Infrastructure Malta immediately sent a written invitation to Graffitti to a technical meeting the following day, where the agency’s architects would have been able to answer the organisation’s questions, including their concern that the new road will be built on land in an outside development zone, an allegation that the Planning Authority has already categorically denied.
“For some reason, Moviment Graffitti did not accept this invitation. On Friday, Infrastructure Malta once again wrote to the organisation, extending its invitation for a technical meeting, at a date and time convenient to the same organisation. This invitation remains open,” Infrastructure Malta said.
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