An estimated 6,000 people turned up at Castille Square to protest against government corruption and to demand justice for assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Protestors are carrying Maltese flags, as well as placards with the names of the three notorious Panama companies exposed in the Panama Papers.
The protest, organised by activist groups Occupy Justice and Awturi, coincides with the launch of the Daphne Project – an International journalistic collaboration that is working on some 680,000 documents from the ElectroGas consortium that were leaked to Caruana Galizia a few months preceding her assassination.
Opposition leader Adrian Delia is attending the protest, marking a change of strategy for a man who has stayed away from protests and vigils organised in the wake of Caruana Galizia’s murder last October after the late journalist’s family informed him he was not welcome at the events. Caruana Galizia’s sisters have reacted to Delia’s announcement by posting satirical cartoons of the PN leader and damning articles Caruana Galizia had written about him.
“There is no place for the crooked, amoral and corrupt at today’s protest, except on your posters and banners,” Mandy Mallia said.
The leaks to the Daphne Project include an email sent by Nexia BT to Mossack Fonseca, which inquiries about setting up bank accounts in the Bahamas for the Panama companies of Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri. Nexia BT said the companies will receive around €150,000 a month – primarily from two mysterious Dubai companies, including one called 17 Black. A FIAU report found that 17 Black had received at least €1.3 million from the Maltese agent of the tanker providing LNG to Electrogas and from an unnamed Azeri national.
PN MEP David Casa, PD MP Godfrey Farrugia and activists Emma Portelli Bonnici, Rachel Williams and Alex Hili will all address the protest, while Egrant whistleblower Maria Efimova will also deliver a broadcasted message from Greece.
“We are gravely concerned about recent developments,” OccupyJustice and Awturi said. “Firstly, it is very clear now that Minister Konrad Mizzi lied to the Maltese and European Parliaments, and that both he and the Prime Minister’s staff chief Keith Schembri lied to the people about their involvement in 17 Black. We now know, through documentary evidence, that they set up a structure to earn €150,000 a month in bribes. The Prime Minister has not dismissed them.” “Secondly, international media report that it is likely that Maltese security services had been tapping into the phone communications of at least one of the alleged assassins of Daphne Caruana Galizia for some time before he killed her, and they did nothing to stop him. In spite of these reports, no investigation has been called.”
“The Prime Minister leads the committee that oversees the security service and has not provided answers about what has really happened. This protest will call for action and ask for political responsibility, as well as serious and independent investigations into the horrific revelations we are hearing. We are inviting everyone, including institutions in the Maltese community – political parties, churches, unions and employers, societies and other organisations – to attend this gathering in a sincere demand for Justice and Truth.”