Activist withdraws Great Siege memorial injunction

The injunction, filed against Justice Minister Owen Bonnici, his permanent secretary and the director of public cleansing was scheduled to be heard on 5 October

The memorial has been cleared 17 times during the last 11 months
The memorial has been cleared 17 times during the last 11 months

Civil society activist Manuel Delia has withdrawn his application for an injunction against the government and the Cleansing Department, in which he had asked the court to prevent the two entities from removing the makeshift memorial to murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, outside the law courts.

65 lawyers had signed the application for the warrant of prohibitory injunction filed by Delia, asking the courts to prevent workers from removing a memorial to the slain journalist from the base of the Great Siege monument. Doing so, they argued, trampled upon Delia’s right to freedom of expression.

The memorial had been removed 17 times, prior to Delia’s application.

The injunction, filed against Justice Minister Owen Bonnici, his permanent secretary and the director of public cleansing was scheduled to be heard on 5 October.

Bonnici said last week that the monument had been sealed off for health and safety reasons during the restoration of its base.

In a statement issued this afternoon, the Government said that Delia had withdrawn the injunction himself.

A separate Constitutional case on similar merits he had filed earlier this week appears to be unaffected.

Delia's reaction

Reacting to the minister’s statement, Delia stressed that the constitutional case he instituted remained so, and that it was just the warrant of prohibitory injunction that had been withdrawn.

“I am waiting for the courts to set a date for the case’s first hearing. Bonnici did not refer to this application but rather his statement was manifestly intended to mislead the public into believing that a white flag was being waved by myself or my fellow activists,” Delia said.

He added that the fact that former minister Joe Brincat had entered the case was further testament showed that the case had not been withdrawn.

Delia said that he had opted to file a constitutional case while also noting that Bonnici and the government had “continued to censor the protest despite being ordered by the court to explain their actions”.

“Instead of replying to the court, minister Bonnici couldn't care less and maintained his order for the protest to be censored,” Delia said, adding that he would continue to seek the protection of the court against the “government’s abuse”.                                                                                                                    

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