[WATCH] Thousands march in Valletta for Daphne Caruana Galizia

On the first anniversary of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder, people demand truth and justice as some speakers warn against a return to the turbulent 1980s • Activists pledge to keep up the fight until the mastermind of the murder is caught

Thousands marched in Valletta to mark the first anniversary of Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder. (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Thousands marched in Valletta to mark the first anniversary of Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder. (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Thousands march in Valletta for Daphne Caruana Galizia

Thousands have marched in Valletta in remembrance of slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia demanding that “truth and justice” prevail.

People walked down Republic Street chanting “justice, justice”, as they carried placards critical of the authorities and demanding that the mastermind of the murder be brought to justice.

One of the placards read ‘You killed a journalist to avoid prison’, while another mocked the country’s rule of law by equating the police and other law enforcement agencies to Joseph Muscat and the courts of law to a Labour Party club. ‘A democratic dictator – Lord Egrant’, the placard read.

A banner was strung up on the hoarding surrounding the Great Siege monument. (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
A banner was strung up on the hoarding surrounding the Great Siege monument. (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)

The large crowd burst into applause when activists strung up a banner depicting Caruana Galizia’s face on the Maltese flag, on the hoarding around the Great Siege monument.

The banner was in defiance of repeated actions by the authorities to remove candles, flowers and messages placed at the foot of the monument, which has served as a makeshift memorial for Caruana Galizia since her murder.

A similar strong applause was reserved for former PN leader Simon Busuttil when speakers sprung to his defence and described him as an anti-corruption campaigner.

On the flip side, the names of Joseph Muscat, Owen Bonnici, Chris Cardona, Tony Zarb and others close to the government were greeted with boos.

The messages delivered by the various speakers, including representatives of international press freedom organisations, asked for the mastermind of the murder to be brought to justice and the government to stop removing the makeshift Valletta memorial.

Activist and blogger Manuel Delia. (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Activist and blogger Manuel Delia. (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)

Min ħexa mexa

In the strongest speech of the night, activist and blogger Manuel Delia urged people not to give up hope and continue to believe in what is right.

Delia harked back to the violent events 39 years ago when Labour thugs burned down the Times of Malta and attacked the family of then Opposition leader Eddie Fenech Adami.

“The fight for justice did not start last year,” Delia said, adding that those who fought for justice back then feared that what they campaigned could be lost.

Delia said that those who believed EU membership would safeguard democracy would have never expected a journalist to be killed because of her work.

“Justice has not been served yet. Min ħexa, mexa,” Delia said to applause. He urged people not to give up irrespective of whether “victory was in reach or not” because the most important thing was being true to themselves.

“We are fighting for this country’s soul… The mafia will find us here again tomorrow,” he insisted to strong applause.

People called for justice to be done. (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
People called for justice to be done. (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)

A return of the 1980s violence 

On a similar note, Marion Pace Axiak touched the heartstrings of veteran Nationalists when she recalled the violence of the 1980s, mentioning the Tal-Barrani mass meeting attacks, the exile of PN broadcaster Richard Muscat and the murder of Raymond Caruana. She also mentioned the murder of Karin Grech as a blot on the country’s conscience.

Pace Axiak condemned the Prime Minister’s outburst in Parliament last week, insisting that his threat that Simon Busuttil would not be able to set foot in the country again was a return to the dangers of the past.

Lawyer Edward Debono said it was unacceptable for the police not to investigate the people in authority that Caruana Galizia had exposed for corruption. He insisted that in Slovakia, “a country that only emerged from behind the Iron Curtain” a few years ago, the person who commissioned the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak had been caught.

He said the call for justice would never fade away as long as people continued to demand it.

Debono condemned Justice Minister Owen Bonnici for repeatedly ordering the removal of Caruana Galizia’s memorial in Valletta.

Activists called on the authorities to find the people behind Caruana Galizia's murder. (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Activists called on the authorities to find the people behind Caruana Galizia's murder. (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)

Not just about Daphne

Pauline Ades-Mevel from Reporters Without Borders said the organisation was supporting the Caruana Galizia family in their call for an independent inquiry into whether the journalist’s death could have been prevented.

Courtney Radsch from the Committee to Protect Journalists insisted that it was unacceptable that a year since Caruana Galizia’s murder nobody has been charged with commissioning the crime.

“There appears to be no meaningful investigation to find the mastermind… We told the Prime Minister this does not suffice,” she said, referring to a meeting five press freedom organisations had with the Prime Minister on Monday.

A similar sentiment was expressed by Scott Griffen from the International Press Institute, who insisted that Caruana Galizia’s case was more than a fight for justice in her regard.

“This is also about the type of society Malta would like to be. Does it want to be a society where criminals are brought to justice or one where they can roam free?”

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