The Malta Independent 20 April 2024, Saturday
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V18 artistic director Mario Philip Azzopardi describes London protester ‘a sorry bitch’

Monday, 23 April 2018, 15:50 Last update: about 7 years ago

Artistic director of the Valletta 2018 Foundation, Mario Philip Azzopardi, has described Martina Urso ‘a sorry bitch’ after she partook in and filmed a protest against the sale of passports in London last Friday.

This pejorative comment just comes days after v18 Chairman Jason Micallef was slammed for similar behaviour by PEN international writers, local renowned artists and 72 MEPs from across political groups.

Azzopardi was commenting on a post shared on Facebook by his colleague Sandro Kitcher, who is part of the ‘Special Events’ team of V18.

Accompanied by a photograph of the activist, the post read ‘This is Martina Urso who was the brains behind yesterday’s event in London with the aim of dirtying Malta’s name, be ashamed if you know how to be Martina, traitor, you are indebted to the Maltese and Gozitan population, Malta despises you!!’

Kitcher shared this post with his own caption stating ‘Shame on you’. Azzopardi commented on the post saying “Just pathetic. What a sorry bitch.”

The campaigners in central London protested outside a gala dinner event which promoted Malta’s individual investor programme and was attended by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

A number of activists attended the demonstration with signs and placards, while a man wearing a mask ‘advertised’ Malta’s IIP scheme, talking through a megaphone. “Get your Maltese citizenship here,” he said. “We offer you a great price and a great deal – no questions asked.”

Yesterday, The Malta Independent on Sunday also revealed that local artists are petitioning to the Prime Minister to remove colleague to Azzopardi, chairman of v18 Jason Micallef from his post.

The petition states that local artists are unhappy with Micallef’s behaviour and comments on the murder of assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, and his frequent comments attacking artists who try to criticize elements of the V18 or disagree with the government. The artists are of the belief that Micallef is no longer fit for purpose and that his behavior does not represent the ethos of the European Capital of Culture.

Last week week a group of international writers from PEN International, including names such as Neil Gaiman and Margaret Atwood also slammed Micallef in an open letter to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, and Director of Creative Europe Michel Magnier.

They wrote “to express profound concern with developments in Malta in the context of the investigation into her (Daphne Caruana Galizia) assassination, and in particular regarding the behaviour of the management of Valletta 2018, the European Capital of Culture”.

PEN International noted that the Maltese authorities have not attempted to protect the slain journalist’s memorial: “In particular, we are outraged by the comments of Jason Micallef, Chairman of the Valletta 2018 Foundation, and as such the Capital of Culture’s official representative in Malta. Since her assassination, Micallef has repeatedly and publicly attacked and ridiculed Daphne Caruana Galizia on social media, ordered the removal of banners calling for justice for her death and called for her temporary memorial to be cleared. This is far from appropriate behaviour for an official designated to represent the European Capital of Culture, and in fact serves to further the interests of those trying to prevent an effective and impartial investigation into Caruana Galizia’s death.”

Joining PEN’s statement, 72 MEPs from across political groups have described Micallef’s behaviour as undignified and unacceptable and called for his immediate removal from the post of Chairman of Valletta 2018. The initiative behind this statement came from PN MEP David Casa together with five other European parliamentarians.

Solidarity with intimidated activists 

Civil Society Network expressed its solidarity with activists who are being harassed and bullied by Labourite trolls on the social media. Activsts' identities and fake news are being distributed in what looks like a modern day witch hunt.

Civil Society Network called on the Police to investigate immediately and on the Labour Party to expel such trolls from the party. Otherwise they would be accomplice to this shameful campaign of mob rule and hate. 


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