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Demonstrators reclaim Great Siege monument in vigil for Daphne

'All roads lead to the OPM'

An activist places candles on the Great Siege monument, after rebuilding a makeshift memorial to assassinated anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, during a vigil to mark thirteen months since her murder, in Valletta. Photo: Reuters

An activist places candles on the Great Siege monument, after rebuilding a makeshift memorial to assassinated anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, during a vigil to mark thirteen months since her murder, in Valletta. Photo: Reuters

Several hundred demonstrators gathered in front of the Valletta Law Courts on Friday to mark 13 months since the car bomb assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Netting blocking off access to the Great Siege Memorial opposite the Valletta courts had been covered in graffiti recalling Daphne Caruana Galizia on Thursday night.

The spray painted messages which read "Daphne was right" and "The truth is out", with the number "17" repeated throughout, were turned over by the government at around noon under the watchful eye of Valletta 2018 Foundation chairman Jason Micallef.

The demonstrators, however, reclaimed the monument, removing the netting and placing flowers and candles were they had previously been.

Protesters have used the monument as a makeshift memorial to Ms Caruana Galizia until authorities blocked it off without warning, citing restoration works.

During Friday evening’s gathering, two of the late Ms Caruana Galicia’s nieces read out a long list of posthumous awards bestowed upon the journalist to applause and cries of “brava” from the crowd.

Among the honours were the renaming of the press room at the European Parliament, and several investigative journalism awards.

Activist Lizzie Eldridge held no punches when she took to the microphone.
“F**k you [Justice Minister] Owen Bonnici,” she repeatedly cried.

Ms Elridge, an author, took aim at the justice minister, who is behind the repeated clearing of the monument. “What are you scared of Owen?” She asked?

All roads, Ms Eldridge said, seemed to lead back to the office of the prime minister, which the late Ms Caruana Galizia had warned the country about all along.

The final speaker was journalist Jurgen Balzan who insisted that no matter how popular the government was in polls, and no matter the wrong doings of past administrations, the incumbents could not hide from the wrong doings of today.

This, he said, was not a test of the political class - for they had proven time and again to be concerned primarily with power. This, Mr Balzan said, was a test for the public.

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