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Circus relocates next to cemetery

The circus, with the Addolorata cemetery in the background. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

The circus, with the Addolorata cemetery in the background. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

The circus is in town but it has had to relocate right next to the Addolorata Cemetery, on the outskirts of Paola, where it will stay at least until Tuesday when the court will decide whether it can move to Floriana.

Despite winning two cases before different tribunals, circus agent Johann Said was prevented by the police from setting up the Italian circus on the car park of the Granaries in Floriana, following an “arbitrary” Cabinet order.

However, the circus animals could no longer wait in cages till the promoter was allowed to pitch the tent on the Granaries. For the animals’ health and safety, Mr Said applied to set up shop in the limits of Paola, in the extended parking space of the Addolorata. He was granted a permit within three hours.

According to Mr Said, the delay, coupled with remarketing the relocation, was leading to a loss of about €10,000 a day.

He was insisting on his legal right to have the circus on the Granaries, as he has done for the past seven years.

“We are losing face with the Italians. Even the Italian Ambassador was concerned,” he said, referring to the fact that Circo Darix was Italian.

The police yesterday appealed the judgment of the Administrative Review Tribunal, which allowed the circus to set up on the Granaries.

Lawyers from the Attorney General’s office, who were appearing for the police, argued that the permit could never be issued because of parking problems. About 115 parking spaces would be lost to the circus at a time when Valletta was chock-a-block with Christmas shoppers trying to park.

The Court of Appeal, presided over by Chief Justice Silvio Camilleri, Mr Justice Noel Cuschieri and Mr Justice Giannino Caruana Demajo, heard Mr Said’s lawyer, Sharon Mizzi, argue that the permit should have been refused in January when her client had applied for a permit, however, this was issued at the last minute.

The Paola local council was not amused by the decision of having the circus on the locality’s doorstep.

“We disapprove. We feel this is not an appropriate place to set up a circus and some people might find it offensive,” Paola mayor Roderick Spiteri said.

He insisted that, at Christmastime, the cemetery was visited by more people and this would, in turn, cause parking problems.

Despite the council’s objection, the police still issued the permit and the first show was held yesterday.

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