Some 50 members of the Moviment Zghazagh Partit Nazzjonalista this evening took part in a silent protest in front of Parliament against the International Investor Scheme, through which foreigners can buy Maltese citizenship for €650,000.
The protesters, in white T-shirts and with their faces painted red and white - the colours of the Maltese flag, held large posters which read Kburi li jien Malti and Malta taghna ghal bejgh.
They were initially not allowed to enter the square. They were not given a reason but were told by the police they had orders from above not to let them in.
Eventually, they were allowed into St George’s Square on condition that they left by 6pm. They were still there at 6.15pm.
Parliament is today expected to pass the bill amending the Citizenship Act, enabling the introducing of the scheme, from third reading, which is the final stage.
As Prime Minister Joseph Muscat was entering Parliament, he turned to the demonstrators to hear from them why they were protesting.
MZPN president Kevin Plumpton explained that this was their last ditch attempt to appeal to MPs to vote against the law.
Dr Muscat told the youths they had every right to protest but he did not agree with them.
One of the demonstrators told Dr Muscat that his father was denied Maltese citizenship in Dom Mintoff’s time and it was only after the election of Eddie Fenech Adami that he was given citizenship.
Dr Muscat told the young man he was sorry for his experience but his Government wanted to give citizenship to more people.
The young man argued that citizenship should not be sold.
Dr Muscat asked him if his meant that foreigners who married Maltese spouses should not be given citizenship.
The young man answered that this was a different argument.
Opposition leader Simon Busuttil said the Opposition and the Nationalist Party would continue to argue against the sale of citizenship to the very end. Asked if the Opposition considered pushing for an abrogative referendum, Dr Busuttil said he had no comments to add to what he has already said on the matter.