Around 100 people gathered in Miżieb this afternoon to decry the way the public woodland, as well as Aħrax, was signed off to the country’s largest hunting lobby group.
Protestors staged a socially distanced sit-down in the woodland at the time and spot where the deal was originally meant to be signed, before it was pushed forward and signed behind closed doors.
“It’s getting a bit frustrating to see bullies getting what they want, getting land,” BirdLife Malta CEO Mark Sultana told the protestors.
“I think it’s high time to show the politicians that in this country that there aren’t only hunters and people who want to make money out of land, but that there are also people like you and me who want to enjoy nature, which is the only thing we can do without paying any money.”
“Those with money can go abroad but the social class can only enjoy themselves free of charge in nature and that’s what this is all about.”
“What happened is unfair. Who signs an agreement that was meant to be signed right here, right now two days earlier behind closed doors? They did that because you all voiced your concerns.”
Sultana urged people to become members of an environmental NGO, arguing that the FKNK draws it lobbying power through its high number of hunter members.
“The hunter lobby is strong because they have members and [hunters] must be members to get a license to kill our birds.”
The contract gives the FKNK rights over the management and upkeep of the two woodlands and forbids public access during specific times of day during the spring and autumn hunting seasons. The FKNK will also be obliged to set up picnic areas for the general public.
Over 28,000 people have signed a petition calling for the land to remain public, while the Nationalist Party has denounced the government’s “arrogance” in signing the deal before it could get scrutinised.
Environmental NGOs are planning another socially distanced sit-down protest against this deal in the near future.