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Watch: 'We'll stop other PA meetings if we have to'

Activist Victoria Pisani says people must be willing to stand up and be counted

Developers have "turned politicians into their puppets" and the only thing that can stop them from bulldozing over Malta's natural heritage is a critical mass of people willing to stand up and be counted, an up-and-coming environmental activist has warned. 

Victoria Pisani's megaphone-amplified voice echoed across local Facebook feeds last month, when she and fellow Moviment Graffiti activists interrupted a Planning Authority hearing concerning plans to build a massive fuel station on ODZ land. 

"The Planning Authority left us with no other option," Ms Pisani tells Times Talk. "These fuel station hearings are a complete farce." 

Their protest worked - "our intention was to stop the meeting," Ms Pisani unequivocally says - and the Environment Minister has since accelerated plans to revise the planning policy for fuel stations. 

Not that a ministerial pledge will be enough to placate Malta's environmental lobby. 

"If the Planning Authority doesn't change its ways, we'll do it again," Ms Pisani says when asked whether we can expect a repeat of last month's action. 

Protesters received an outpouring of public support following their PA hearing stunt, but it will take more than clicktivism to bring about real change, Ms Pisani believes. 

"People are frustrated, you can see it from the number of comments online," she says. "But we have to get them to express this frustration in a more direct way, by joining campaigns and protests." 

Moviment Graffiti and Kamp Emerġenza Ambjent now have the controversial mega-project planned for St George's Bay in their sights, and are banding together with Pembroke residents to drive their concerns home.

"We're organising a protest in Pembroke on May 16," Ms Pisani says. "I hope people can show their support for local residents by attending and by formally objecting to the plans." 

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