A 30-year-old woman has said that she was punched, kicked and had her hair ripped out by a gang of teens in Valletta in December, echoing a similar incident that left a 14-year-old boy with a broken leg on Saturday.
Speaking to Times of Malta, Paula, who asked for her last name not to be published, said the incident occurred on the evening of December 18, when she and her partner were visiting a Christmas village.
A disturbance, she claimed, was already underway while the couple was walking in front of the parliament building.
Two adolescent girls, possibly in their late teens, were locked in a tussle and their altercation had sent an elderly woman who was walking in their vicinity tumbling to the floor. As her partner went to assist the woman on the floor, Paula stepped in to try and stop the two girls from continuing to fight.
“I have to say, hundreds of people were walking by and no one was taking any action, no one calling the police, everybody was just watching and taking videos,” Paula said.
“I thought it was just a fight between two girls over a boy or something. It got very violent but I couldn’t pull them apart,” she added.
“In that moment, the gang around them went crazy and started attacking me, punching and kicking me, pulling my hair, pressing their feet on my ribs. At a point, I fell on the floor and they kept grabbing my hair. I lost so much hair that evening.”
When her partner stepped in to try and stop the assault, the same gang turned their attention to him.
“He came in between us and covered me and started to scream ‘enough enough’ but they continued to punch him,” Paula said.
“Finally, the people who were just watching from the sidelines formed a ‘wall’ around me so they could not reach me. All of this was happening in the middle of the street.”
Paula said that, following this, she did contact the police but was disappointed with their response, claiming that they discouraged her from filing a police report.
“About four police officers arrived after a few minutes and what happened after is just laughable; it made me understand how little and insignificant we are in front of the authorities,” she said.
“They asked me if I wanted to press charges and when I asked what the risk was to me they told me that I also run the risk of being charged as 'this is what happens in these cases’.”
Paula claimed that the police who responded to her call refused to escort her to the health centre and reluctantly agreed to escort them to their waiting cab.
“They just told me to avoid going to Valletta for a week and things would go back to normal. I was shocked then to read the news this week and recognise such a similar incident,” she said.
“I am lucky that I am a strong person and, after a week, I got over the trauma.
“But for a week I was in complete shock and pain. I started to feel the bruises the day after... luckily for me they did not break my nose.”
The woman spoke out following reports that a gang of teens assaulted another group of youngsters in the capital city this week. The attack, which bystanders said was unprovoked, left one teen with a broken leg.
The two teen suspects are expected to be arraigned on Wednesday.
Multiple reports of gang assaults
Meanwhile, on social media, others have also said that they were attacked by a gang of youths in Valletta this week, with one woman claiming that her husband was beaten up by a gang of teenagers on Monday evening.
Questions sent to the police were not answered at the time of writing.
Speaking to Times of Malta, Valletta councillor Mark Spiteri Lucas said that while last Saturday’s incident had gained widespread attention, reports of gangs of teenagers terrorising residents and being a nuisance have not been uncommon over the past few years.
“I’ve received various reports over the years from residents that groups of teenagers are acting like bullies or are trying to goad people into fights,” Spiteri Lucas said.
“While I respect and admire the work that the police put into our locality, if the resources are not allocated for them to be able to tackle these issues, then I don’t think we can solve the problem.
“I think what happened on Saturday has captured the attention of the public because it went to a new extreme and it’s an ugly photograph of what our society has become,” Spiteri Lucas added.
“I hope this serves as an eye-opener because if this issue is not addressed, we’re just waiting for a tragedy to occur.”
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