Clad in black and carrying a coffin with the flag of the European Union, protestors took to Valletta today to hold a mock funeral protesting the “death of fundamental rights”.
The protest comes on the 57th day that the MV Lifeline and two other ships remain in the Grand Harbour, forbidden from leaving. With 234 migrants on board, the Lifeline had entered Maltese territorial waters earlier this summer after a political standoff following similar tensions with the vessel Aquarius.
Beyond the mock funeral, the protestors were also handing out pieces of paper reminding onlookers that the 57-year-old German captain of the MV Lifeline, Claus-Peter Reisch, is currently on trial for sailing the ship without registration, even though they claim the vessel had “all the necessary registrations to sail”.
“By undermining Sea Rescue for the sake of a failed migration policy, the fundamental rights of Europe are being killed,” the statement reads. “Consequently, we are carrying the European values to their grave.”
If convicted, the Lifeline captain faces a maximum jail term of one year and an €11,600 fine, or a combination of both.
“Sea Rescue doesn’t need political legitimacy,” the statement concludes. “Sea Rescue is not a crime!”