Social Policy Minister Michael Falzon has accused demonstrators calling for the Prime Minister’s resignation of “seeking bloodshed”, while saying Opposition MPs are fomenting violence.
Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday morning, Dr Falzon switched to English at various times, saying he wanted to convey his message in a clear manner to the foreign media, such as the UK's The Guardian, which had recently retracted a story about Malta.
“Yesterday’s was not a protest. Yesterday’s was a sedition. There were personally, Nationalist MPs, some of them even ex-MEPs who were leading the crowd, who were in contact with a drone flying over parliament, who were insulting personally and who are pushing the State to the limit.”
Brandishing a jacket he wore for Monday’s sitting which was stained with eggs, he said that these items as well as bags of urine were being thrown by a mob which included two Opposition MPs.
MPs were trapped inside parliament on Monday evening as furious protesters blocked one of the exits created by police who had set up a maze of steel barricades in Freedom Square opposite parliament.
'These are old tactics of the 1980s'
Dr Falzon said that if this was the result of a group calling itself civil society, he could not even imagine what the uncivil society could resort to. He also claimed that one of the organisers coordinating the protests was the brother of an MP, saying the drones were being used to monitor all exits of the parliament building, so as to prevent Labour MPs from exiting.
“These are the old tactics of the 1980s and not the new way [promised by Adrian Delia,” he said.
“Yesterday’s acts were aimed to lead to bloodshed,” he added.
“Boycotts, protests, and destabilising the country. Their aim is to create another martyr.”
Though not mentioning any names, Dr Falzon also criticized influential persons, not necessarily involved in politics, whom he said were “staying on the fence” rather than use their position to defuse tensions.
“We owe it to the people to ensure that the strongest ever mandate is implemented. We are living in a killing frenzy”
“Let us raise above partisan politics. Throwing eggs and urine bags is not the way to defend the national interest, ” Dr Falzon said
Justice Minister accused media for “orchestrated” message
Justice Minister Owen Bonnici said the demonstrators were following a premeditated plan whose message was being relayed by Times of Malta, Shift News and Manuel Delia’s blog in an “orchestrated manner”.
He said the Prime Minister could not step down overnight, “without an orderly succession” as this would have negative repercussions for the country.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has said he will quit once a new Labour Party leader is in place in January. Civil society activists say that is not good enough and insist on him resigning immediately.
Referring to accusations that Dr Muscat was trying to manipulate the investigation, he said this was a very “unfair” claim.
He pointed out that evidence is under the direct responsibility of the inquiring magistrate, and such accusation were only meant to cause alert abroad. Moreover, Europol are involved as well. “Even government’s biggest critics among Opposition ranks have congratulated the investigators,” he said.
The Justice Minister appealed for calm and insisted the Labour Party would serve its full term.