Three days after the first anniversary of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder, the makeshift memorial in Valletta has once again been cleared.
This followed government’s reassurances to international press freedom organisations that it was fully committed to keep strengthening freedom of expression in Malta
The site has been cleared over 20 times since the monument was turned into a memorial and protest site following the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia – until it was blocked off by the government last month.
On Sunday evening activists and representatives of five international press freedom organisations placed flowers and candles in front of the Great Siege Memorial, only to have these cleared overnight.
PEN International, the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders and the European Federation of Journalists, were in Malta to assess press freedom in the country and to raise concerns about what they described as a lack of progress in the murder investigation.
The memorial was then revived on Tuesday when thousands converged to Valletta to mark the first anniversary of the journalist’s death.
Just two nights later it was once again destroyed.
— Sarah Clarke (@Sarah_M_Clarke) October 19, 2018
During the manifestation, Carles Torner, Director of Pen International, said he had told the Maltese authorities to leave the protest memorial alone and that he must respect the people’s right to protest and mourn.
“Not in Putin’s Russia, not in Erdogan’s Turkey does a government destroy a memorial 21 times. We tell the government don’t you dare remove the memorial we place tonight,” he said to a cheering crowd.
— #occupyjustice (@occupyjusticema) October 19, 2018
The Great Siege monument, opposite the law courts in the capital city of Valletta, was the gathering spot for tributes to the assassinated journalist. On the 16th of every month, vigils were held to mark the day she was killed in a car bomb a few metres away from her home in October 2017 in Bidnija.