What started out as a funny viral video has now turned into another tale of perceived injustice.
Francesca Zahra is facing disciplinary proceedings for a dance video imitating a popular TikTok trend which she had taken during her lunch break.
The 27-year-old had sent the video to her friends’ WhatsApp group but it was leaked to other social media platforms and quickly went viral, becoming a meme poking fun at police inaction against mass celebrations by Floriana FC fans.
Police then issued a statement to say disciplinary action will be taken against her.
However, an online petition has now been set up to urge the police not to punish Francesca for this video and over 2,000 people have already signed it as of the time of writing.
“She was trying to cheer people up and eventually did cheer them up; elderly, children and those who are alone,” the petition reads. “Please help us so that this doesn’t go against her. Share as much as you can so no action will be taken against her.”
“I thank you Francesca that you have managed to cheer me and others up!”
TV hosts Peppi Azzopardi and Brian Hansford have also come out in support of Francesca.
“What did this girl do wrong by dancing in her uniform?” Azzopardi questioned. “You’re going to investigate her? You have no shame.”
Meanwhile Hansford went down a different route, saying Francesca’s video not only put a smile on people’s faces but also made them sympathise with the police in general.
“#JienFrancesca,” he wrote.
One of Francesca’s relatives has spoken to Lovin Malta about how this saga has impacted her sister, saying she has been crying at home for two days and taking anti-depressants.
“There’s support, but no help. Francesca apologised and admitted she did wrong, but why should a genuine mistake be shared with the four corners of the world?” they asked.
“She made a funny video, and it’s a good one. What’s wrong with that? We are making people smile. There’s so little wrong with this, I don’t know how or why it’s even being addressed like this.”