The Malta Independent 25 May 2019, Saturday

Malta's success story built on sacrifices of thousands of Labour soldiers of steel - Sant

Thursday, 25 April 2019, 11:49 Last update: about 30 days ago

Malta’s success story has been built on the sacrifices of thousands of Labour soldiers of steel  who struggled in colonial and post-colonial times to leave a Labour movement dedicated to create jobs, strengthening freedom and striving for social justice, former Prime Minister Alfred Sant said when visiting Victor Attard at his home in Vittoriosa. Victor was sentenced one month imprisonment at the age of 16 for taking part in the riots of 28 April 1958. Victor Attard was among 101 young people sent to jail after the 28 April riots, including former President Agatha Barbara, former Labour Ministers Albert Hyzler and Patrick Holland.

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Alfred Sant said Malta should honour those common citizens who fought for Malta’s freedom in the fifties and sixties of last century. We must never forget the sacrifices and social boycotts endured by hundreds of young people who had defied all military restrictions and took to the streets on 28 April 1958 seeking Malta’s Independence from Great Britain, said Alfred Sant.

Victor Attard thanked Alfred Sant for visiting him personally at his home.

“I am proud to have been one of  thousands of young people who sixty two years ago fought for freedom. DeGray’s police were tough on us then. They  treated us like criminals. When we were young we dreamt of living in an independent country without the presence of foreign soldiers on our land. We suffered economic hardships for taking part in the national protest. Conditions at Kordin prisons were humiliating. But looking back today I feel I gave my utmost to for all of us to live in a free country without belonging to any colonial power.” Victor Attard told Dr Sant.

Alfred Sant paid tribute to the thousands who took to the streets while hundreds were injured by the police, their truncheons and their cavalry.

The thousands of youth protesting across the country were the real unsung heroes in 1958These were trying times for the Labour Party, stricken as it was from all sides by conservatives, traditionalists, and imperialists. It took pluck and mettle to be on the right side of history in those days.

Alfred Sant had authored a 460 page publication on the April 1958 riots entitled  28 ta’ APRIL 1958 – Ħobż u Ħelsien (28 April 1958 – Bread and Freedom) which he donated to Mr Attard.

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