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Valletta square monument removal illegal, Labour says

The Sette Giugno monument as it is being "stored" in a yard in Mrieħel.

The Sette Giugno monument as it is being "stored" in a yard in Mrieħel.

The removal of the Sette Giugno monument from the refurbished St George's Square in Valletta was in breach of the planning permit, Labour spokesman Roderick Galdes said yesterday.

Covered with black plastic, the monument is in a yard of the Works Division stores in Mrieħel.

"This national monument has ended up in a yard among rubbish rather than in a prominent area to be enjoyed by the Maltese," Mr Galdes said.

Speaking in front of the yard, Mr Galdes pointed out that the application for the permit to upgrade St George's Square included a slight shift of the monument.

He said there was never any mention that the monument would be removed when the application was approved unanimously by Mepa, including by himself. Mr Galdes is the Labour opposition's nominee on the Mepa board.

"The Mepa application did not include the removal of the monument. Had an ordinary citizen done something of the sort, he would have received an enforcement notice.

"The government should lead by example," he said.

Recently, Resources Minister George Pullicino announced that the monument would be moved to City Gate.

In response to Mr Galdes's comments, the Resources Ministry said the government had full respect for the victims of Sette Giugno, adding that the monument had a historic link with Parliament.

"That is why we decided to incorporate the monument in the plans for City Gate and the new Parliament in Freedom Square. In the meantime, the monument is being kept in the store where it is being cleaned and is undergoing maintenance works," the ministry said.

It said as a Mepa employee and a member of the authority's board, Mr Galdes should know that the government had already written to Mepa and confirmed its intention to move the monument to Freedom Square.

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