Moviment Graffitti and Kamp Emerġenza Ambjent have released a statement refocusing the spotlight on what they see as their “foremost concern”: a Planing Authority board that gives away ODZ land to speculative development.
Their statement comes following a controversial act of civil disobedience that saw some of Malta’s highest trained security forces descend upon the Planning Authority’s building to physically remove a number of protestors.
Read Moviment Graffitti and Kamp Emerġenza Ambjent’s statement in full below:
“Whilst thanking all those who have shown their solidarity during the past two days, Moviment Graffitti and Kamp Emerġenza Ambjent would like to highlight the fact that our foremost concern remains the Fuel Service Station Policy and the offensive behaviour of the Planning Authority, and not police actions.”
“We recognise that during Thursday’s action most police officers were simply doing their job. Though it is unfortunate that a few of the officers from the RIU went overboard by grabbing and dragging activists from their neck, and hurling a drum at their face, we urge everyone to focus on the most pressing issue: nine months after a promised review of the Fuel Service Station Policy, this ridiculous policy is still in place, unreformed.”
“The fact that the application for the Żejtun fuel station was refused is positive, but of very limited significance. Four fuel stations have already been approved in the past months, there are eleven other applications to be processed, and more applications can be submitted. A total size equal to seven times the Floriana granaries can be taken for fuel stations on agricultural and natural land. This is pure madness and must be stopped.”
“Thursday’s action was an act of peaceful civil disobedience in the face of extreme circumstances. Prior to Thursday’s action, organisations and thousands of citizens had constantly expressed their outrage and incredulity at the Fuel Service Station Policy, which allows massive so-called fuel stations on ODZ land. Even the authorities had admitted that the policy was wrong and should change. But this simply didn’t happen.”
“Press statements were released, emails to the Planning Authority were sent, articles were written, press conferences were held – all in vain. Everyone was blissfully ignored, evidence of how the power of developers in our county has moved outside democratic control, resulting in the rapid destruction of our country and threatening our future on this island. Thus, as we did exactly two years ago when we forced open the gates at Manoel Island, on Thursday we carried out a direct action aimed at stopping this folly.”
“During the past two days we have been overwhelmed by messages of support and encouragement. We now commit ourselves to do our best to transform this support into a stronger movement that can defend our country from speculators’ greed and Planning Authority’s servility to big business.”