The ‘restoration’ works the government claimed were needed on the Great Siege monument – the reason given for the cordoning off of the public space last week – have not started a week later, despite claims of urgency by Justice and Culture Minister Owen Bonnici.
On 8 September the monument was blocked off – the same day it was set up to celebrate – with walls erected around it and police barriers placed to deny public access. The monument has served as a makeshift memorial for assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. Citizens gather before the monument opposite the law courts in Valletta to voice their call for justice.
On the day the monument was blocked off, Bonnici posted on social media that the government’s reason for denying public access to the monument was that restoration works would start “with immediate effect”.
Yet, more than a week later, there is no sign of any work done. Meanwhile, activists have had to guard a banner with the word ‘justice’ placed on the wall surrounding the monument after government workers swept in to remove the banner.
Blogger Manuel Delia filed a police report on Saturday and the banner was put back up and guarded by activists overnight. More than 60 lawyers also backed a request filed in court to order the government not to remove the protest memorial in Great Siege Square. It was filed with the help of lawyers Jason Azzopardi, Karol Aquilina, Eve Borg Costanzi and Therese Comodini Cachia as well 61 other lawyers.