Police have refused to say whether even a single fine was issued by officers brought in to disperse Floriana FC supporters who gathered en masse to celebrate their league victory and disregard strict COVID-19 restrictions.
Video footage showed hundreds of fans descend on the granaries in Floriana like wildfire, spurring reactions of shock, anger and disappointment at those who so blatantly ignored COVID-19 protocols in favour of a football win. Even Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci.
As per a legal notice, people who gather in public in groups of more than six should be fined €100 each. However, the law appears to have gone unnoticed during yesterday’s fiasco.
Lovin Malta asked the police how many fines were issued last night, whether anyone was arrested, and why precautionary measures weren’t taken despite clear indications that a party could erupt if Floriana FC were declared winners of the Maltese Premier League.
However, in a short reply a spokesperson for the police said:
“The Police acted to see that the crowd that had gathered spontaneously was scattered, so much the activity was stopped. Police investigations regarding this case are continuing.”
People have begun to seriously question the police’s role in yesterday’s incident. Photos published by Lovin Malta show a number of police officers standing and staring a hundred metres away from where a large number of people started to gather, despite the six-person limit in place.
Another photo shows a Floriana supporter taking a selfie among the crowd with a helpless police officer looking on.
A police statement on the incident was not issued. Their silence brings about more questions. While they have shown an iron fist to most people breaking the rules, they seemed reluctant to take strong action and immediately disperse the Floriana crowd. The celebrations were only stopped hours after they had initially begun.
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