Raise your hand if you thought we would get to this point again, when Repubblika feels the need to mobilise people in the streets.

It’s not a difficult assessment to make. We were always convinced that we will come to this juncture again ever since Robert Abela was anointed by Joseph Muscat as his successor on the battle cry of ‘Continuity’.

Politicians are usually not known to keep their word but, boy, did Abela keep his – from sweeping every major scandal from the Muscat administration and brand new ones on his watch under the carpet, to defending his disgraced predecessor and his fellow road map travellers to the hilt, the prime minister is fulfilling his obligations, not to the country, but to the Labour Party, and, ultimately, to Muscat.

Five years ago, it was also May, Repubblika requested the courts to open a criminal magisterial inquiry into the hospitals heist, that Chris Fearne dubbed as the ‘real deal’. Yes, the real deal – a fraud that allegedly took place with money that was supposed to go to the care of sick people and, instead, that money went to fatten the pockets of corrupt politicians and those close to them.

A raft of high tier politicians like Muscat, Edward Scicluna, Keith Schembri and those who allegedly enabled them but were duty-bound to prevent this fraudulent deal, have been named and charged five years later. In a normal democratic country, a prime minister of a member of the European Union would have called a press conference to acknowledge the gravity of the situation and vow to allow the institutions to do their job.

A prime minster of a democratic country would have asked for the resignation of people still in office. Instead, we were regaled with the sorry spectacle of a head of the establishment of our country ranting and raving about conspiracies and collusions. Worse still, the prime minister unleashed an obscene attack on the judiciary, journalists and civil society, singling out the inquiring magistrate, a woman journalist working in an independent newsroom and civil society activists and their lawyer who requested the inquiry.

These alarming attacks, especially on the judiciary, have attracted the condemnation of university students and stakeholders in our society. It has also prompted the new president of the republic to appeal for prudence so that the judiciary can work in serenity. The new president has contributed more to the public debate than her predecessor in his five years in office.

But did this rebuke deter Abela? The prime minister has form –  as the defender of the perpetrators of the biggest heist this country has ever seen. As per cue, out trotted Muscat’s two favourite lapdogs, Manuel Cuschieri and Jason Micallef. The latter does not feel the least uncomfortable going on Church radio to attack the institution and some people who work in it for having the temerity to do their job and their duty as responsible citizens. That’s impunity for you. That’s brazenness for you. That’s Labour for you.

These attacks by the prime minister and Joseph Muscat’s henchmen will not stop us from doing what is right by our country- Alessandra Dee Crespo

These attacks by the prime minister and Muscat’s henchmen will not stop us from doing what is right by our country. We will not sit idly by while the establishment pulls our country further into the muck of its own doing. Well, we were never ones to wilt under fire for we were burnished by the very fire that killed the woman who started it all: Daphne Caruana Galizia.

When we get tired we remember that she is not here to feel tired, when we rejoice at a job well done, we remember that she is no longer here to feel the satisfaction to see her work being recognised and vindicated.

So we continue to fight for her stories and her legacy in any way we can.

But we are not alone. We are pleased that, like the protests in 2019 that ousted Muscat, the national demonstration is being endorsed by a wide-ranging coalition of organisations that includes Occupy Justice, manueldelia.com, UĦM The Voice of the Workers, Aditus, KSU (Kunsill Studenti Universitarji), Collective Voice, Fondazione Falcone, SOS Malta, the National Youth Council, the ICT Students Association, Medical Biochemistry Studies Assessment, the Media & Knowledge Sciences Association, JEF Malta, SDM (Moviment Studenti Demokristjani Maltin), PEN Malta and Graffitti.

We are uniting to cleanse our country of deception and abuse, we are uniting to ensure that everyone is considered the same before the law. We are uniting to remind the police commissioner and the attorney general that we will not tolerate another sabotage akin to the Pilatus Bank inquiry.

We are uniting to pledge steadfast support for public officers of integrity. We promise to stand by them and defend their efforts to do their duty in the face of much obstacles.

This is a crucial moment in our history. Let’s not fail our country.

Alessandra Dee Crespo is an executive committee member of Repubblika.

The National Demonstration will be held today. It will start at 6.30pm from the Old Opera House. The vigil will start at 7pm at Great Siege Square, Valletta.

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