Janet Walker, the woman whose Guardamangia home next to a construction site collapsed in June, will be joining a national anti-construction protest on Saturday morning.
“I don’t want sympathy, I only want what is just and right,” Ms Walker told Times of Malta.
“I want to attend this protest to show that nobody will intimidate me anymore and that I’m not just a woman behind a keyboard, I’m a real person,” she said.
The protest, dubbed Iż-Żejjed Kollu Żejjed (Enough is Enough) begins in Valletta at 10am in front of the law courts.
What is the protest about?
The NGOs leading the demonstration are making six demands in their manifesto.
They want to see a radical change in planning policy and they want environmental and planning authorities to be shorn of commercial or political interests.
The NGOs are also proposing a moratorium on large-scale projects until a sustainable development plan is drawn up, increased regulation of the construction industry, a green transport strategy and the protection of open spaces and natural habitats.
What happened to Janet Walker?
Ms Walker’s home was located adjacent to a construction site. She says she had long been trying to file reports, to several authorities, with her concerns that a neighbouring development was causing damage to her property but claims she was ridiculed by the developer’s architect for her efforts.
In a video uploaded mere minutes after the collapse of her home, Ms Walker can be heard saying that all that she had feared had come to fruition.
Ms Walker said that in the construction rush, laws were not being followed and law enforcement entities were not taking the situation seriously.
“We have laws but nobody abides by them. If they did, we wouldn’t be in this situation” she said.
“This is unjust and unjustified. Nobody should have to live in our situation. Had the housing authority not intervened we would still be out of a home.”
Ms Walker and her family have been provided with a temporary residence.
However, they are still awaiting the outcome of a magisterial inquiry: nobody has yet been held accountable for the collapse of their Guardamangia home.
Who is behind the protest?
Saturday's protest is being organised by NGOs Moviment Graffitti, Friends of the Earth Malta, GreenHouse, Merill Rural Network, Attard Residents Environmental Network, BirdLife Malta, Nature Trust, Flimkien Għal Ambjent Aħjar, Kamp Emerġenza Ambjent and Din l-Art Ħelwa.
The protest has gained momentum in recent weeks, with Moviment Graffitti holding public forums and making it clear that MPs from both sides of the house would not be welcome at the demonstration.
“Iż-Żejjed Kollu Żejjed is a protest born out of a very common sentiment that goes beyond class and political beliefs: that the construction industry has overstepped its limit and is behaving like it politically and physically runs the island,” Graffitti member Wayne Flask wrote in a Times of Malta opinion piece.
“It takes a lot more courage to stick your neck out and protest in an age where your enemy is composed of politicians in and out of power, developers, estate agents, bankers, employers, unelected people in high places, sections of the media, far-right groups and others pimping themselves as new friends.”
The protest manifesto can be found on www.7settembru.org.
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