Activists took to Valletta ahead of a southern EU countries summit on Friday to say that women and girls in Malta are treated as "just incubators".

The protestors from Moviment Graffiti and Voice for Choice held up signs reading "my body, my life, my choice". They urged authorities to "trust women".

Abortion is illegal in Malta under any circumstance, with no exceptions for rape, incest or when life is at risk, another sign pointed out.

The demonstration comes as leaders from several southern European countries arrive in Malta to discuss issues such as migration, regional security and Brexit.

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The sixth southern EU countries summit is bringing together leaders from Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain and Malta.

The two-hour mini-summit meeting is also seen by political observers as an opportunity for Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to lobby for one of the EU’s top jobs.

A senior diplomat had pointed out that the mini-summit in Malta will coincide with the time when European leaders will be making up their minds on who should get what in the EU institutions.

Dr Muscat has downplayed interest in EU institutions, saying people should be more concerned with the EU’s direction rather than who will take the top jobs.

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