A number of anti-corruption protest banners put up around Malta to mark a year since the start of a series of civil society protests in Valletta have disappeared less than a day after they were put up by civil society group Occupy Justice.
The group hung the banners in several localities around Malta to mark a year since demonstrations calling for the resignation of then prime minister Joseph Muscat, minister Konrad Mizzi and chief-of-staff Keith Schembri over shocking revelations related to the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
The banners were put up late on Sunday evening but by Monday afternoon, at least six were missing. Four had been in the Msida area while another two hung over the Sta Venera tunnels.
The banners featured faces of ministers and government officials with slogans attached.
In a statement, Occupy Justice said it had hung the banners to also mark 37 months since the Caruana Galizia assassination and “remind the powers that be that we are not going anywhere”.
"Given that only yesterday, Prime Minister Robert Abela confirmed that "this is a new government from the one back in January", we assume that our fundamental right to protest is being rigorously respected as part of this regime's raft of 'progressive reforms', and that they are therefore being stolen by authoritarian thieves," Occupy Justice said.
"We appeal to the Malta police to take the necessary action to ensure that they are recovered and returned immediately."
Police and the Planning Authority said they did not remove the banners and police added that officers had reached out to Occupy Justice to ask for more information.
Occupy Justice has a history of having its protest material being cleared up by public officials.
A makeshift memorial to Caruana Galizia at the Great Siege monument in front of the law courts in Valletta was regularly swept up by public cleansing workers.
In November 2018, the monument was sealed off by hoarding while being restored and in January a court found that the constant dismantling of the memorial by authorities had breached protestors’ right to freedom of expression.
Similarly in 2018, two banners calling for justice erected by the Caruana Galizia family on private property in Valletta were removed by the Planning Authority.
Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.Support Us