University students carried a symbolic coffin through campus on Thursday as they mourned the demolition of a nearby once-popular bookshop, soon to be replaced by an 11-storey hotel.

The students carried the coffin along the campus and on to the now-demolished bookshop, just outside, where they lit candles and held a minute of silence. 

“Today, we stand on the brink of change. Not the change we've hoped for, but one forced upon us,” University Students’ Council’s (KSU) Social Policy officer Matthias Azzopardi told the gathered 'mourners'.

The students hung a banner on the demolition site's wall reading: "I don't give a damn about students".

The new hotel will be replacing the Mireva bookshop, which sold textbooks, and academic literature for many years before closing down.

Last year, Gozitan developer Mark Agius, better known as ‘Ta’ Dirjanu’ applied for PA for permission to add another floor to the site, despite having already secured an additional two floors over and above the permitted maximum for the area in his original planning application.

The application caused uproar among students, staff and the public, with many calling out the 'tragedy' that the University of Malta was left without a bookshop on campus.

In November, the Planning Authority approved the application for the new building with the additional floors, despite the development being located just outside the gates of the University campus, which is a residential area designed as a Student Housing Area by local plans.

Despite their efforts, KSU’s concerns have fallen upon “deaf ears,” Azzopardi said.

“The Planning Authority's approval echoes a disregard for our community's well-being,” he continued.

"I don't give a damn about students". Photo: KSU"I don't give a damn about students". Photo: KSU

“Let us not forget that this isn’t merely about a building, but the erosion of what makes our university experience vibrant and inclusive. It's about the erosion of our rights as students to a conducive environment, affordable amenities, and sustainable infrastructure.”

Lighting candles on top of a coffin placed in front of the demolished bookshop, Azzopardi ended his speech by rallying the crowd.

“Let our presence send a message loud and clear! We will not be silenced and our interests will not be ignored!”

Sign up to our free newsletters

Get the best updates straight to your inbox:
Please select at least one mailing list.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By subscribing, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing.