Some 200 Africans met in Valletta for a peaceful demonstration today calling on the authorities to uphold their basic human rights.
The protestors, mostly men, walked behind a large banner calling for long term residency as this would give them better access to basic necessities such as education and health care.
The rights of every person are diminished when the rights of one person are threatened, the banner read.
Another poster read: I want to thank the Maltese authorities for saving my life.
Some of the posters had a message against racism. Black lives matter, one read, while another said: Stop racism, it’s the enemy of freedom.
The issues they raised were the need for long-term residency that would help them integrate and feel part of Maltese society, better access to health care and education and the right to social security benefits since they were paying taxes.
One of the spokesmen, Bushrah Fouad said the worst affected were those with temporary humanitarian protection and asylum rejects.
Most have been here for years, even up to 20 years.
“If we’re still here in 20 years, who will we be? How will we live if we are not entitled to a pension and we cannot live anymore? What about the most vulnerable of us: children, women, elderly and disabled,” he asked in front of the President’s Palace.
The demonstration started off from in front of the Phoenicia Hotel in Floriana, and the group walked to the new Parliament building, the Office of the Prime Minister, St George’s Square and Europe House, stopping at each building.
There, while expressing gratitude for their the support that they found in Malta, they also voiced their concerns.
One of the most pertinent worries is that some employers insist on employing migrants without a permit, meaning they receive less than the minimum wage and are not insured against injury.
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