The Malta Independent 15 November 2018, Thursday

Watch: March for truth and justice - 'we will not forget Daphne'

Tuesday, 16 October 2018, 18:44 Last update: about 29 days ago

A march for truth and justice took place this evening in Republic Street, in remembrance of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was assassinated one year ago.

Caruana Galizia was murdered outside her home by a car bomb on 16 October 2017.  So far three men, Vince Muscat, 55, known as 'il-Kohhu', Alfred Degiorgio, 52, 'il-Fulu' and George Degiorgio, 54, 'ic-Ciniz' have been charged with carrying out the murder. All three plead not guilty, however many believe that those who ordered the killing remain at large.

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People gathered near Parliament building for the planned march. As one walked down towards the church where mass was being held, the crowd thickened, with individuals armed with placards and slogans.

The crowd included activists and representatives of civil society, all united behind the banner of "Justice & Truth".

An applause signalled the beginning of the march - an applause that was repeated at other times during the event. Chants for "justice" broke out sporadically.

When the demonstrators reached the Great Siege monument, a banner tied to the hoarding surrounding it was unveiled with Daphne Caruana Galizia's portrait superimposed on the Maltese flag, and the date of her assassination on display. Over the past months the monument served as a makeshift tribute to the journalist, although it has never been officially sanctioned. 

Various speakers from various organisations addressed the large crowd, with many present carrying lit candles and printed placards. Those present jeered when Prime Minister Joseph Muscat's name was mentioned.

Pauline Ades Mevel, from Reporters Without Borders, said: "we gather to show the Maltese and international authorities that we will not forget Daphne."

Her sentiments were echoed by Courtney Radsch, from the Committee to Protect Journalists who highlighted that they do not usually go to democratic European countries.

Scott Griffin from the International Press Institute also spoke - "Will Malta be a society where criminals are brought to justice, or a country where journalists are killed in broad daylight and allowed to roam free?"

Government's removal of the memorial was also criticised by the international speakers present.

Carles Torner, from PEN International said: "not in Russia with Vladimir Putin, not in turkey with Erdogan, would anyone think of removing a memorial 21 times."

The vigil ended with the recital of the national anthem with candles and mobile phones raised, after which those in attendance took the opportunity to place flowers, candles, pictures and any form of memorabilia at the foot of the monument. 

Is this the price to pay for Freedom of Speech and Expression?

A joint statement was also issued by the KSU, The Third Eye, The Yuppie and Insite Malta, who said that students participated in the vigil.

"Last year, all the students marched in Valletta, condemning such a barbaric act.  Just a year ago, one of the most prominent and well-known journalists on the island was brutally killed, but only seemingly because she used to exercise her freedom of expression freely. Whether or not society has truly realised the severity of this brutal deed is still very questionable, but as students we definitely do not accede to this act and fully understand the severe implications of the matter."

"One year onwards, we still have the exact same thoughts on the matter and truly encourage all authorities concerned to take the necessary steps towards solving this case and identifying the culprit of what one could call a pure threat to democracy in Malta."

'A year filled with emotions, a year filled with questions - Priest says during mass in memory of Daphne Caruana Galizia

"This has been a year filled with emotions and a year filled with questions," Fr David Cilia said in a homily said during a Mass that preceded the march.

The mass in memory of Caruana Galizia was held at a packed St Francis Church, in Valletta. Fr Cilia led the mass, as the Archbishop is abroad at the Vatican. The Archbishop did, however, send a message earlier today.

He read out tributes and words of others - activists, friends, family -  who spoke not only of continuing her stories and her work but also of her nature as a person who was always ready to help her friends, and as an exceptional parent. 

"The past year has been punctuated by the desire for justice," Fr Cilia said, adding that justice should be served.  He emphasised the words of the Archbishop, saying that one may try to escape justice in this world, but they would never escape justice from God. 

Fr Cilia called for more protection on journalists both from the state and from society as a whole, saying that freedom of speech was a fundamental right that had to be retained at all costs.  Fr Cilia ended his homily by calling for justice, and saying that the truth should always prevail.

Photos by Michael Camilleri and Luke Zerafa. Video by Michael Camilleri

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