The Malta Independent 22 July 2019, Monday

Hundreds march in protest against the 'reign of developers'

Albert Galea Tuesday, 18 June 2019, 19:54 Last update: about 2 months ago

Hundreds gathered in Gwardamangia in a protest against the "reign of developers", a march which will end at the offices of the Malta Developers Association.

The march began at St. Luke's Hospital on Tuesday evening. It proceeded down Mimosa Street to the tune of drums and to chants of 'Against the rule of developers' before stopping at the site where the wall of a residence collapsed into a construction site - the third collapse in the space of two months.

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At the site, protestors sang a rendition of the famous song You'll Never Walk Alone which was at the request of one of the collapsed building's residents, who said that he wished for everyone to know that they were never alone no matter what.

Protestors continued their march, walking to the offices of the Malta Developers Association.

 

Over there, Moviment Graffitti's Wayne Flask said, seemingly addressing developers that the crowds had gathered to protest against their "spectacular" arrogance and against how they "bully and destroy the lives of residents."

"They told us that we are against progress; progress is not destroying other people's houses and it is not giving miserable salaries to workers and saving off health and safety costs", he said.

He called for developers to give their workers the dignity that they deserve and not use them for their advantage.

Residents of buildings which have collapsed into construction sites as of late also spoke. Caroline - a resident who lost her house in the first of the spate of building collapses - said that she had been left with nothing more than her pyjama and a pair of slippers and that eight whole weeks have passed and that they had heard absolutely nothing as to the fate of what used to be their home.

Another resident, who was ousted from her house in the most recent collapse, spoke of the trauma that she and her family had been through, while another said that they will not stop fighting until justice is done.

Moviment Graffitti's Andre Callus read out a list of urgent demands. Callus called for an end to the "boundless arrogance and bullying of developers on residents" and for a limit to permits issued by the various authorities and an end to the laissez-faire attitude in the planning sector.

He said that further restrictions on the hours in which construction and excavation can take place and that a limit to the number of road closures and parking slots taken up by construction works taken up be imposed.

Callus called for a law that imposes decent standards to safeguard residents' health and safety in areas close to construction sites, along with serious enforcement of these laws and those which serve to protect workerd and residents alike.

He demanded that responsibility be taken for the "permanent deformation of our islands", particularly when such incidents are involved.

"So far, nobody has taken responsibility for any of these accidents", Callus told the crowd.

Finally, he demanded that construction sites should be audited by an independent authority at the developer's cost and for the end of the "incest" between politicians and developers, politicians who, he said, had somehow always voted in favour of developers over residents.

The protest was led by Moviment Graffitti but saw the participation of Alleanza Kontra l-Fqar, Archaeology Society of Malta, Bicycle Advocacy Group, Din L-Art Helwa, Flimkien Ghall-Ambjent Ahjar, Friends of the Earth Malta, Futur Ambjent Wiehed, Isles of the Left, Repubblika, Zminijietna - Voice of the Left.


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