Tensions between activists and Infrastructure Malta workers have reached fever pitch as a Dingli site’s gate and trees were ripped off to resume works this afternoon.
Moviment Graffitti activists forced IM to stop its plans to build a road on an out-of-development zone (ODZ) yesterday after a tense confrontation with workers manning heavy machinery.
A handful of activists camped during the night, tied the entrance gate with barbed wire and logs to protect the area. IM workers returned at 8am today to resume works.
Footage from the activist group’s livestream showed heavy police presence and physical confrontations between IM workers and members of Moviment Graffitti.
Workers lowered large slabs at the entrance of the site and at a point, one unidentified man hoists a chainsaw and cuts into a log an activist was sitting on.
The entrance gate, as well as a lemon tree and carob trees, have been removed, while the tents of activists were tossed to the side.
Throughout the video, activists demand to see permits from the Planning Authority for the plans to erect the road in Dingli and claim several illegalities -such as a lack of wardens or safety measures for IM workers.
“Why isn’t [Transport Minister] Ian Borg here? Are we not important enough for him?” a woman taking the video is heard asking.
The controversy stems from IM’s plan to connect Sqaq il-Museum, Daħla tas-Sienja and Triq San Gwann Bosco. It argues the work is essential to allow emergency services access to unreachable areas.
Moviment Graffitti claims the government agency is working illegally and that the plan threatens arable land, centuries-old carob trees and a 15th-century church nearby.
The activists had filed an appeal against the uprooting of trees but was turned down by the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal.
IM insist that it was granted permission to uproot the trees as long as it plants 30 new trees as compensation.
What do you think of the plans?