18 October 2017
Two days had passed since the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. On this day, people leave wreaths, flowers, notes, and candles as a sign of respect to her and her work. Some school children also leave their messages to her during the evening vigil.
Nobody could have guessed that something so civil and tender would stir so much public controversy.
2 February 2018
A woman in red bashes the memorial, striking down letters, flowers, and even a picture of Daphne. She’s Little Red Riding Hood with a vengeance, and my god is she mad.
5 February 2018
The makeshift shrine lasted three months. Valletta local councillors started to complain, so the Civil Society Network announce plans to crowdfund a new memorial for Caruana Galizia in front of the law courts.
The chairperson of the Valletta 2018 Foundation, Jason Micallef, comes out and says that this will not happen.
13 February 2018
Councillor Ray Azzopardi’s attempt at having the memorial removed was shot down before it was even put to vote. Despite all the claims and noise that everyone is making, mayor Alexiei Dingli claims that it didn’t have any legal foot to stand on.
16 February 2018
Protestors of the memorial (yes, this became a thing) included photos of the late Dom Mintoff and the murdered victims of unsolved cases; Karin Grech and Raymond Caruana.
18 February 2018
Labour supporters leave a note at the memorial, which read:
“To our beloved Mintoff, you are always in our heart, we are what we are today because of you. For that, we are grateful.”
20 February 2018
All of the photos are removed; Daphne, Dom Mintoff, Karin, and Raymond’s alike. In the meantime, letters to Mintoff and Karin Grech are placed alongside messages demanding justice for Caruana Galizia’s murder.
5 March 2018
In a night ambush, cleaning troops are deployed to perform a memorial sweep. The next day activists rebuild it slowly throughout the day and then gather around it in the evening.
22 March 2018
Nationalist MP Karol Aquilina asks the police to investigate the robbery of flowers and candles from the makeshift Valletta memorial through an email that he sends to Lawrence Cutajar and the Valletta police station.
30 June 2018
Egrant allegations against the Muscat family were absolved. So posters showing former Leader of the Opposition Simon Busuttil, MEP David Casa, slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and informant Maria Efimova are stuck onto the makeshift memorial.
6 September 2018
The memorial has been removed again! They’ve also placed police barriers surrounding it, stopping people from restoring it.
It seems that the removal is in light of this evening’s traditional Victory Day ceremony, where dignitaries will gather at the Great Siege Monument to pay homage to the Maltese people who perished in the Great Siege, the French blockade of Valletta and the Second World War.
7 September 2018
8 September 2018
The entire monument now has been boarded up and blocked off. Shortly after the ceremony ends, workers begin setting up scaffolding, wooden boards and thick green material all around the Great Siege monument.
9 September 2018
Activists place photos, candles and messages in honour of Daphne Caruana Galizia at seven national monuments across Malta.
They also get even more creative and, seeing the scaffold sheeting as their canvas, plaster a large photo of Daphne onto it with the words ‘She investigated them…they killed her’.
10 September 2018
As a woman leaves flowers by the memorial, an elderly man snatches them and attempts to remove them.
15 September 2018
The police barriers that were blocking off the site were removed, and so activists raise a large banner demanding justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia on the memorial.
17 September 2018
Over 60 lawyers, including former Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi, petition a Maltese court to prevent the removal of the makeshift memorial.
18 September 2018
They stripped off the police barriers. Blogger-journalist Manuel Delia reports the robbery of the banner. After investigating, the police confirm that it was removed at the request of Justice Minister Owen Bonnici.
The police order the items to be returned.
17 October 2018
On the one year anniversary of Daphne’s murder, a makeshift memorial is placed outside the boarded-up Great Siege Memorial in Valletta.
Veteran BBC journalist John Sweeney has this to say; “The Maltese government can bin the flowers, trash the photographs and snuff out the candles but it can never kill the light that Daphne shone,” he said. “Not allowing people to grieve at a shrine doesn’t only look bad but makes it seem as though they’re trying to hush up a murder.”
19 October 2018
The makeshift memorial was removed again, but this time was replaced by a Heritage Malta banner promoting the Great Siege monument.
Justice Minister Owen Bonnici has the following to say on the issue; “When people organise a manifestation, they usually clear the site after making their message clear. When they don’t, we’re obliged to clear it ourselves at the end of the day.”
7 November 2018
An iron fence covered in yellow fabric is erected around the Great Siege Monument. Bonnici says that the restoration works will be completed in time for Christmas.
16 November 2018
The night before, activists spray graffiti on the yellow hoarding. During the day, public authorities turn the hoarding around so that the text is facing the monument. Activists then spray the other side.
A vigil takes place this evening, and activists hurl the following insults; “night after night after night, Owen fucking Bonnici, the minister of fucking justice. Fuck you, Owen Bonnici. Fuck you!”
And this is where we are now.
Something that started off as an impromptu makeshift memorial by a group of school children has become the symbol of an overblown power struggle between the public authorities and a group of activists demanding justice for Daphne.
But how long can this tug-o-war last, and which side is going to topple over first?