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Police Ban Artists From Protesting In Valletta Against COVID-19 Restrictions, Warn It’s Illegal

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Police have banned artists from protesting in St George’s Square against COVID-19 restrictions which have severely hampered their ability to perform, warning such a demonstration would be against the law.

In a letter to the Malta Entertainment Industry and Arts Association, which was organising the protest, assistant police commissioner Kenneth Haber warned that the event cannot take place.

He cited Legal Notice 78 of 2021, which was amended by Legal Notice 224 of 2021, which bans all “organised mass events” except religious events and weddings.

This was despite the MEIA going out of its way to abide by COVID-19 restrictions, making the protest a seated and socially distant one and obliging all attendees to register for contact tracing purposes.

As a result, the MEIA formally called the protest off, warning that proceeding would subject its members to fines. A press conference will be held tomorrow evening instead, which the MEIA is urging artists to follow through a live stream.

“Join us virtually to express our collective call for equality to secure a responsible, sustainable and controlled reopening for all arts and entertainment sectors,” it said, adding that it has deleted all the data it had collected for contact tracing purposes.

The protest, titled ‘Daqshekk Siekta’, was originally meant to be held last week but was postponed pending negotiations between the MEIA and the health authorities.

Cover photo left: Kenneth Haber (Photo: TVM) 

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Tim is interested in the rapid evolution of human society brought about by technological advances. He’s passionate about justice, human rights and cutting-edge political debates. You can follow him on Twitter at @timdiacono or reach out to him at [email protected]

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