Today’s Valletta Protest In Quotes: Prime Minister Urged To Resign As Thousands Cheer On
An estimated 6,000 people turned up to pile pressure on Joseph Muscat
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat was the villain of the piece at this afternoon’s protest in Valletta, which demanded his resignation as a sign of political responsibility for government corruption and the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
An estimated 6,000 people turned up to the protest, by far exceeding the expectations of the organisers - activist groups Occupy Justice and Awturi. Notably, Opposition leader Adrian Delia attended the protest, but positioned himself at the back of the crowd - which stretched from the Royal Opera House to the BOV branch. In contrast, his predecessor Simon Busuttil and a group of PN MPs stood in the front row.
This is what the six speakers had to say today:
Emma Portelli Bonnici (youth activist)
"It is not our job as civil society to decide which party runs the country. That is the electorate’s role and their decision is clear and must be respected. We’re not calling for a change in the ruling party or for a snap election. The issue shouldn’t have to split the Maltese between party lines - we all believe that righteousness should triumph and that everyone caught stealing from and defrauding people should be held accountable and leave politics."
Maria Efimova (Egrant whistleblower)
"From my first day in Malta, I was fascinated by Valletta, the mysterious Mdina and the beautiful Ghajn Tuffieha, but most of all I enjoyed the company of Maltese people - smiling, friendly, kind. I understand those who are supporting wrongdoing - they might simply want to feel like they belong to a powerful group - but I believe your example today shows them that true values aren’t about belonging to a party but to a nation and that values shouldnt just be monetary but should be holistic and community-based. I revealed what I knew what was happening at Pilatus Bank because someone had to stop it. It's not just in Malta that rich people find access to corrupt politicians, but in Malta I found people willing to fight for the truth and justice, no matter how powerful their adversaries are. Thats what I found in Daphne Caruana Galizia - a brave woman, determined to seek the truth and justice."
Godfrey Farrugia (PD MP)
Photo: Occupy Justice
“There is a growing sense of realisation that something new is forming in the country, a sense that everyone has grown sick of partisan politics of sides. The time has come to find the courage to break the old and tired style of politics that has divided workplaces and families. We don’t care who you voted for in the past, let’s focus on where we want to get to together and vote for a change in direction. Lets give our children a country they deserve. We listened to you, we realised and addressed our flaws, and now let’s change our country together into one with a strong economy, and a society in which everyone has a role and is given a chance. Let’s write history together and become protagonists in this movement, of which I am just one person amongst you. Lets give the country back to the people, because it is yours, mine and everyone - because Malta belongs to all of us.”
"How much I clapped to that speech of Joseph Muscat back in 2013; I was one of the first to fight for that movement because I wanted to see a change. Those words filled me with determination and courage. I was so proud to be part of a movement that I believed will write a new page of history, but I was deceived and betrayed."
David Casa (PN MEP)
"You in front of me are the true Maltese people, patriots who are ready to fight for this country that we love so much. We know that corruption has infiltrated the highest levels of government and we know that people are benefitting from the weakness of our institutions, including those who are awarded permits that guarantee their future and those who gain promotions they feel they deserve. But these are only short-term gains, and the erosion of the country’s institutions is placing us all in danger. I urge you all - don’t fall for acts of charity, but keep demanding the truth."
Alex Hili (Awturi activist)
“We cannot remain silent when we see what is happening in our institutions and we cannot remain silent when we see our liberty slowly eroding. We didn’t come here to call for another election, but to loudly and clearly demand the resignations of Joseph Muscat, Keith Schembri, Konrad Mizzi and Chris Cardona. We must give each other courage and speak to journalists we can trust and who sacrifice their lives for us. Let’s say and do what we must, because Malta deserves better. The time has come to rise up and tell those liars, thieves and corrupt people that they don’t represent Malta."
Rachel Williams (Occupy Justice activist)
Photo: Occupy Justice
"Truth and justice will reign once more in Malta and we will rise up as one voice and tell the Prime Minister that Malta doesn’t just belong to him and his clique but to all of us. When a journalist and his girlfriend were killed in Slovakia, the police commissioner, the justice minister and the Prime Minister all resigned. What happened over here? None of you shouldered any political responsibility for Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination but instead you continued ridiculing her and tried to destroy her memory and her family both publicly and privately.”