Updated at 7.28pm with PL statement
Opposition leader Simon Busuttil called on the President today to use her moral obligation to ask the Prime Minister to leave in the national interest in the wake of fresh claims linking his family to a secret Panama company.
"The President is known for her honesty and integrity and although she does not have the legal power to remove the Prime Minister, she had the moral authority to ask him to leave in the national interest," Dr Busuttil told the thousands of people gathered in Valletta for a protest against corruption organised by the Nationalist Party.
Protesters packed Valletta's Castille Square and Republic Street, many carrying Panama placards as well signs with the words 'kriminali' (criminals) and 'barra' (out).
The protesters demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, following allegations that his wife Michelle is named as the ultimate beneficial owner of Panama Papers-named company Egrant.
Speaking to the crowd, Dr Busuttil referred to the Prime Minister’s call for proof and said that the proof of the Prime Minister’s guilt was in his behaviour.
Even though Dr Muscat today swore he was saying the truth, he had already breached his oath to be loyal to the constitution and the country, so how could he now be believed, the Opposition leader told the crowd.
“Do not use God because you are drowning,” Dr Busuttil said.
“Leave now and do not continue to damage the country, do not bring down the country with you,” Dr Busuttil said.
He promised that if trusted to power, he would order an immediate independent investigation into the enormous scandal the country was facing.
Dr Busuttil praised Partit Demokratiku leader Marlene Farrugia, who was first to address the crowd, for choosing the national interest over her own or that of her party. He called on other Labour MPs to use their power to unseat the Prime Minister and not permit him to dirty their name, their party or country.
“Remove him now before it is too late.”
His call to civil society was to stand on its own feet to defend the country's name and appealed to the independent media to continue to do its work to uncover the scandals the Police Commissioner was incapable of uncovering.
He also appealed to whoever had information which could lead to justice to do their duty towards the country and promised these people he would protect them if his party is elected to power.
“Dr Muscat should give these people protection now if he has nothing to hide,” Dr Busuttil said.
Dr Busuttil called on the people to do what was right for their country.
"Let us all unite to remove this Prime Minister who is refusing to leave. This national emergency has seen the birth of a national force of people and reason..."
First to address the crowd was Dr Farrugia, who said that if the Prime Minister was innocent, he would have sent the police to seal off Pilatus Bank so the evidence would stay there.
The crowd cheered as she thanked blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia for the brave work she had done in uncovering the story and said a new generation was needed to protect the country's interests.
The crowd was then addressed by former Alternattiva Demokratika chairman Michael Briguglio who said the party of genuine Labourites loved had been taken over by a gang, "a clique we now know is criminal. They do not care about the Labour Party or the country".
Instead of investigating Pilatus Bank, the police commissioner did what the bank did and washed his hands of the matter, Dr Briguglio said, describing the inquiry that was under way as a farce.
In a statement, the Labour Party said the Opposition leader was fake because he said a lot but, yet again, failed to substantiate with proof.
A leader of the Opposition who bound himself to the lies of a blogger who had even insulted his own deputy when sick, could not be trusted.
The difference now was that Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had spoken serenely on the truth, with a speech that had a vision and he showed the results obtained for the country.
On the other had Dr Busuttil was negative and lacked a plan and ideas for the country’s and his party’s future.