Police Officers’ Union chief Sandro Camilleri (right) condemned the force used by police officers against protestors
The president of the Police Officers’ Union has called for an internal investigation into how activists were manhandled by police officers during a protest at the Planning Authority’s headquarters yesterday.
“I don’t know the exact facts of the incident because it didn’t involve my union’s members, but the police must conduct an investigation to find out exactly what happened,” Sandro Camilleri told Lovin Malta. “I don’t know why this incident escalated the way it did; after all this animosity didn’t take place at other recent protests.”
Camilleri said he agrees with Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s assessment of the situation, that some of the police officers acted in a heavy-handed manner and that the case was mishandled.
“The Prime Minister spoke well. I don’t think this was a case of police violence, as they didn’t beat up the protestors, but I don’t think we should use that level of force. Everyone has the right to protest peacefully while observing the law and everyone deserves to have their voices heard. God forbid we start silencing protestors.”
The union chief used the incident to reiterate his long-standing call for the uniforms of police officers to be equipped with body cams, which would allow them to film incidents themselves and not rely on video footage of third parties.
The activists from Moviment Graffitti and Kamp Emerġenza Ambjent were protesting against the Planning Authority for accepting development applications for petrol stations in ODZ land. Although the PA rejected an application for a petrol station in Żejtun in the wake of yesterday’s protest, the activists have highlighted how the government has not yet updated the national fuel service station policy nine months after Environment Minister Jose Herrera pledged to review it.