The colourful jubilations that usually mark Malta's annual gay pride celebrations were this year replaced by a symbolic flag-waving demonstration organised by Allied Rainbow Communities (ARC).

Parliamentary Secretary Rosianne Cutajar and Prime Minister Robert Abela and Nationalist MP Claudette Buttigieg were among those who joined the demonstration outside Auberge de Castille.

Abela left the event after a few minutes and declined to answer questions by journalists.

Apart from a large rainbow flag, some of the people coordinating the event also waved pink, white and blue ribbons to represent support for transgender people who "are amongst the most at risk".

Photo: Mark Zammit CordinaPhoto: Mark Zammit Cordina

In a statement issued on Friday ARC voiced support for the inclusion of people of colour: "today we are conjoining the brown and black colours with the rainbow to recognise that there is no place for racism in our communities."

The organisation emphatically stated that "we are all born free and equal and that is how we should die."

In a similar statement, the Malta LGBTIQ rights movement (MGRM) echoed the sentiment by condemning how "migrants have been left out at sea in unsafe conditions, illegally."

Meanwhile, MGRM praised the fact that Malta has topped ILGA-Europe's Rainbow index in LGBT legislation and policy for the fifth consecutive year. 

In its statement, the organisation welcomed the extension of the Rainbow Support Service for another three years. The service provides information to members of the LGBT community and their families.

However, the organisation expressed its concern about how the closure of the Genitourinary GU clinic because of the pandemic has "deprived the community of sexual health and gender wellbeing services."

MGRM was especially critical of how HIV patients were left without access to life-saving medication.

Referring to harassment on transgender women as well as racial minorities, the organisation said that "there is still work to be done to ensure that Malta is a truly safe and tolerant country."

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