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Caruana Galizia banner returned after it was ripped away 'on minister's orders'

Government claimed the monument is in need of urgent restoration

The banner, flowers and candles were back up again later in the morning.

The banner, flowers and candles were back up again later in the morning.

Updated 12.30pm

A banner in memory of Daphne Caruana Galizia was returned to activists after it was cleared once again on Monday night.

Cleansing Department workers, acting on the orders of the Justice Minister, were instructed to remove the banner commemorating the murder of the journalist,  activist Manuel Delia said, citing a police inspector.

"This is censorship. This breaches our fundamental rights of expression. If we're doing something illegal, they should come to arrest us, because we are doing it in broad daylight. They are removing the stuff in the dead of night," Mr Delia said through a Facebook video post. 

Activists were told on Sunday that the memorial - at the foot of the Great Siege Monument - had been cleared 16 times in 11 months, and the cat-and-mouse game continued with unknown people removing a large number of candles and flowers as well as a banner showing the slain journalist.

“Only cowards do this in pitch darkness, but rest assured we will be there in broad daylight restoring it once more,”  MEP David Casa wrote on Facebook early on Tuesday.

One of the activists uploaded pictures of the aftermath of the clear-up with wax remains and flowers embedded on the surface leading to the monument.

The remains of the tributes to Daphne Caruana Galizia.The remains of the tributes to Daphne Caruana Galizia.

"This is my candle, shining for Daphne amidst the filth left behind by the public cleansing department when the memorial was cleared again in the middle of the night. Liars, hypocrites and cowards."
 
The authorities acted quickly to cover the Great Siege Monument with hoarding after a wreath-laying ceremony to mark Victory Day on September 8, with the Culture Minister citing the need for urgent restoration works.

But a week after, no works had been done.  

Read: Daphne memorial tussle goes on as banner is removed and then put back up

Over the weekend activists erected a banner on the green hoarding and left new batches of candles, flowers, and messages for the slain journalist. They guarded the memorial on Saturday night into Sunday morning. 

Activist and journalist Manuel Delia on Saturday slammed the way the government was using “garbage clearers” from the Cleansing Department to wipe away the memorial.

Mr Delia, backed by 62 lawyers, on Saturday filed a request for an injunction to stop the government from removing the memorial again, but no decision was taken. 

He also successfully argued with the police that a large banner showing Ms Caruana Galizia and fixed to the hoarding covering the monument should be returned to him after it was removed by public cleansing employees as this was his personal property. It was returned to him at Valletta police station.

It is not yet known who is responsible for the latest clearing of the memorial site.

 

 

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