Screenshot from the mobile phone footage of the altercation
An 81-year-old man remains in intensive care after he was injured in an incident at the Great Siege Monument yesterday, for which there are two conflicting versions of events.
The elderly Valletta resident had approached activists to condemn them for placing flowers and candles in honour of slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia at the foot of the monument, which had just been re-opened after months of restoration and embellishment works.
Mobile phone footage shows the elderly man trying to stop one of the activists from filming him, prompting lawyer Andrew Borg Cardona to step in and repeatedly warn him not to lay his hand on her.
The elderly man then asks the activist why she is filming him, to which the activist responds that she is doing so because he was being aggressive.
“Aggressive? As if!” the old man responds, right before swiping at the mobile phone, spitting at the activists and walking away as Borg Cardona mocks him as a ħamallu.
Shortly after the video footage, the man was rushed to Mater Dei after falling to the floor, with initial reports suggesting he is danger of dying.
However, there are contradictory versions of events as to how he was injured.
Activist groups Repubblika and Occupy Justice said the elderly man had made another move for the activist’s phone but ended up slipping and falling on his back.
“I was next to him immediately after he fell,” blogger-activist Manuel Delia wrote. “He held both my hands and gripped them. He answered my questions about his name and where he was from. He insisted to me and others around repeatedly to help him up. I tried twice but as he was on his way up he told me he felt drowsy. There was a young lady who said she was a medical student in France. She said the best thing for him was to stay on the floor until an ambulance came.”
“Policemen came. They found me on the floor next to the man. The man had my daughter’s jacket under his head. I put it there so he could rest his head on it. The police asked him how he felt and he told them he wanted to be helped up. But I told them what the medical student had told me and they encouraged him to listen to her advice and wait for the ambulance.”
Parliamentary secretary Silvio Parnis speaks to One News after the incident
This version of events was backed up by a Times of Malta journalist, who was covering the protest action at the monument.
However, it was sharply contradicted by parliamentary secretary Silvio Parnis, who was present on site and told One News that the activist had pushed the elderly man himself.
Police are investigating the case and are expected to analyse CCTV footage of the area to ascertain who is telling the truth.