UPDATED: Infiorata flowers repurposed for Daphne Caruana Galizia protest memorial

Activists from Occupy Justice last night transported flowers from the Valletta Green Festival at St George’s Square to the Daphne Caruana Galizia protest memorial at the Great Siege Monument to spell the word ‘justice’.

In honour of Mother’s Day, as well as a “way of thumbing our noses at the powers that be”, the activists transported the blooms and arranged them to create a beautiful tribute to the murdered journalist.

Otherwise known as ‘infiorata’, the Valletta ‘Green Festival’ takes over the capital city’s largest square with over 190,000 potted plants. The flower arrangement was opened on Friday morning by Culture Minister Owen Bonnici, Environment Minister Jose Herrera, and Valletta Cultural Agency Chairman Jason Micallef.

The project is one of the first of the newly launched Valletta Cultural Agency. Micallef was promoted to head the Agency after Bonnici waived a conflict of interest through an amendment to the law.

Bonnici has repeatedly given orders for the flowers and candles to be removed from the Caruana Galizia’s protest memorial, sending government workers in the dead of night more than 200 times. Bonnici also blocked off the monument for months, saying it needed “restoration”.

Activists responded by putting a banner on the wall surrounding the monument saying “justice”. This was removed by government workers, yet promptly replaced by activists who guarded it day and night to ensure it remained.

Micallef also “demanded” the removal of a number of banners calling for justice that were placed in and around Valletta. This was done while he held the position of Chairman of Valletta 2018 Capital of Culture, causing a diplomatic rift for his open attacks on the dead journalist.

More than 70 MEPs and 250 international authors joined local activists and artists calling for action over Micallef’s comments. Bonnici defended him all the way, and then promoted him.

The flowers were removed just over 24 hours later on orders from the government, while the government’s ‘infiorata’ a few metres up the road stayed. This led the activists to state that “only government-sanctioned ‘infioratas’ are permitted in Malta…why are the authorities so allergic to a call for justice?”

Occupy Justice will be holding its monthly vigil for the Caruana Galizia on 16 May at 7.30pm at the Great Siege monument in Valletta.


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