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Update 3: Circus owner back in cage

Circus owner Mario Sali was back in a cage with two tigers today in protest because no place was found where his circus could be set up.

Circo Fantasy was last night planning to set up again at an alternative site today after failing to find an alternative site following an afternoon of talks with the planning authority.

Last night, the spokesman said the owner of a private site, which he did not identify, had turned them down. Talks with the owner of another site were held this morning but they failed.

On Tuesday, the Malta Environment and Planning Authority ordered the circus to close down after its 30-day permit to operate from Naxxar expired. It gave the operators 16 days to pack up and leave.

The next day, circus owner Mario Sali locked himself in a cage with two large tigers for five hours in protest against Mepa’s order.

He claimed he had police, veterinary and local council permits to run the circus in Naxxar until January 6.

A circus spokesman said the circus had abided by the law and dismantled all structures after the 30 days had elapsed.

However, the law did not prevent them from setting up again at a later stage. The circus structures would be re-assembled today, he said.

During yesterday’s meetings, which started in the early afternoon, the two sides discussed potential solutions and alternative sites.

A Mepa spokesman said the circus, being a temporary structure, did not need a planning permit to be set up but, according to planning regulations, temporary structures had to be removed within 30 days. This period was up in Naxxar.

This afternoon, Mr Sali returned to his cage and argued that he had a permit to work until January 6 and that was what he, his 45 artists and other employees wanted.

As solutions had been found for others, he said, he also expected solutions to be found for him.

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