Activists plan to protest on Friday against what they say was a failure by authorities to protect murder victim Bernice Cassar.

Titled ‘Who Will Answer For These Femicides?’ and timed to coincide with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, Friday’s march will see multiple NGOs and human rights groups march together for a common cause.

The event will take place outside the police headquarters in Floriana and begin at 6pm.

It is being fronted by Moviment Graffitti, the Integra Foundation, the Women’s Rights Foundation and Young Progressive Beings.

“We are meeting to ask the authorities to take responsibility for this gross failure,” organisers said.

“Every delay in court procedure kills women. It's time to ensure that domestic violence is acted upon properly and swiftly.”

Friday’s protest replaces a march that was scheduled to take place on Saturday, with the weather forecast – as well as the national shock at Cassar’s murder – prompting a change of plan.  

Cassar was shot as she was driving to work in Paola. Her husband Roderick Cassar, who she had accused of domestic violence and who had been ordered by a court not to approach her, is under arrest and suspected of her murder.

Police Commissioner Angelo Gafà confirmed on Tuesday evening that Cassar had filed five separate police reports against her estranged husband, the most recent coming on the day before she was murdered.

He said three of those reports had resulted in the police pressing charges against Roderick Cassar for domestic violence last May. However, that case was put off to November 2023 due to court backlogs.

Times of Malta on Wednesday exclusively revealed the timeline of threats and abuse that Cassar faced in the months leading up to her murder – from her husband allegedly holding a knife to her throat to threatening to kill her.   

Relatives of Cassar’s who showed up at the murder scene on Tuesday accused the police of being slow to act to protect her from her husband.

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