The Malta Independent 14 November 2019, Thursday

Watch: Hundreds call for truth, justice for Caruana Galizia in Valletta demonstration

Albert Galea Wednesday, 16 October 2019, 19:09 Last update: about 28 days ago

Hundreds of people packed Great Siege Square in a demonstration where the common call was for the truth to emerge and justice to be done for Daphne Caruana Galizia, on the occasion of the second anniversary since her assassination.

People marched along Republic Street after a memorial mass at St. Francis Church, shouting for justice as they walked.

A total of ten speakers addressed the demonstration, which took place at the foot of a makeshift memorial to Caruana Galizia on the Great Siege Monument, opposite the Law Courts.

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Don Luigi Ciotti, founder of Libera and a staunch member in the fight against the mafia and organised crime, said that Caruana Galizia's murder was because of her fight and search for the truth. He described the journalist as one of the pillars of democracy and as a martyr who died for the truth, before noting that she had felt the devastation of people's right in her conscience - a feeling which led to her service to the truth and to her paying the ultimate price. He called on everyone to never stop remembering her, with her memory being a personal and collective commitment needed for the construction of a world which is more human, more just, and where democracy is shown in action, not just words.

In a video message aired at the vigil, former EU Parliament President Antonio Tajani said that Caruana Galizia can best be interpreted in her search for the truth, noting that all across Europe, there are journalists fighting every day for truth and justice. "Like Daphne, they are the sentinels of our society and our freedom", he said.

He noted that the judicial investigation is yet to reveal the instigator of the murder, adding that this is the key point; "we want to know who decided to murder Daphne Caruana Galizia", he said.

"How can we Europeans ask Third countries to guarantee freedom of expression, if we are not able to defend it in our Member States", he asked, before also remembering Jan Kuciak - who was murdered in February 2018 - and Barto Pedro Orent-Niedzielski, and Antonio Megalizzi, two journalists who were killed in the terrorist attack that rocked Strasbourg last December. He said that he will continue the fight to ensure justice for Daphne, her family, and the whole of Malta.

Anna Gomes, a Portuguese former socialist MEP, said that it was shocking that people like Keith Schembri, who were implicated in the Panama Papers scandal are still in government. She lambasted Prime Minister Joseph Muscat - whose mere mention generated a sizeable number of boos from the crowd - for obstructing justice. She said that Caruana Galizia still lives on, and that she is in fact "invicta".

Leoluca Orlando, mayor of Palermo, said that people's presence at the protest was a message to Caruana Galizia's family that they are not alone. He said that the killers of Caruana Galizia will pay and called on people not to say that the situation is desperate, but to believe that change is possible. He said not to believe that the change comes from the state, noting that it comes from the people's minds and their ability to value life.

Norman Vella, a journalist and former PN general election candidate, said that it is clear that the state is trying its best to make people forget Daphne, trying to silence her memory much like the person who paid to have bombed did. He said that the state is sorely lacking in seeking the truth, and that with their passiveness in front of corruption and criminality, a strong air of complicity is being smelt. He called on those present not to allow Malta to sink in this dirt and sleaze without doing anything, saying that with silence, those who commissioned Daphne's murder will have won.

An emotional Amy Mallia, Caruana Galizia's niece, spoke of how she had, hours before her aunt was murdered, said that she had wanted to be a journalist. She spoke of how Caruana Galizia had looked to expose the underhandedness of government officials, and how people at school had told her that it would be better if a bomb had been placed under her chair as well - words which were met with shouts of 'Shame, Shame, Shame' from the crowd. This is what life for her and her family had become, she said. She said that inspite of the efforts of Owen Bonnici's ministry in clearing her memorial, she would continue to return each day to repopulate that memorial.

A video featuring Shift News' Caroline Muscat, author Lizzie Nunnery, investigative journalist Maria Grazzia Mazzola, British Labour MP Jess Phillips, Sky News investigative journalist Alex Crawford called for justice, saying that it had been delayed for two years and praising Caruana Galizia for her efforts to find the truth.

Rebecca Vincent and Christophe Deloire from Reporters Without Borders said that those who are in power must take action and called on the government to seek the whole truth and get rid of the system that damages journalism and the safety of journalists. "We cannot accept that Malta is now ranked 77th in the world press freedom index", Deloire said. Vincent meanwhile said that the balance is beginning to tip in favour of accountability, noting that the government had conceded the public inquiry and saying that now was the chance for full justice.

Martina Farrugia, a lawyer and activist, said that the government had an obligation to protect people and to investigate persons who are exposed by journalists and if need be arrest them, and that if government officials and their corruption are exposed, they are made to resign. Despite all that Caruana Galizia exposed, everyone looked the other way. Addressing those who questioned where these activists where when Karen Grech was killed, she said that it was an obscenity that nobody had been caught, like it was that the person who carried out five car bombs before Daphne's, but that this does not preclude anyone from calling for justice for Caruana Galizia as well.

Vicki Ann Cremona, president of Repubblika, said that the people are fed up and that they want the truth. "We are fed up of; your lies; of taking us for a ride; of you thinking that we are all stupid", she said before adding that they could discern what is true and what is false. She said that their calls for the truth and for justice must be courageous and louder than ever before.

Earlier, during a mass held at St Francis' Church, Fr. David Cilia said that Daphne Caruana Galizia, after years of fighting for the truth on her own, is not alone in that fight anymore.

Cilia quoted the Gospel of John; "Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds", saying that these are the words which had come to mind on the second anniversary of Caruana Galizia's death.

He said that Caruana Galizia had been killed not because she was a woman - a possible swipe at now European Commissioner Helena Dalli, who had described her murder as "femicide" - but because she was not afraid of saying the truth, however uncomfortable it was. "For a long time Daphne used to fight alone, in all our names", he said.

"Today, two years later, I can see that Daphne is not alone. Her extreme sacrifice shocked and awoke the conscience of many others who understand the need to defend the democratic values of a free society", he said.

He said that the fact that journalists from across the globe had come together to continue working on her stories and for the protection of journalists is of great courage as it shows that good always wins over bad.  "It is this seed which was sown with Daphne's life and assassination which is already bearing fruit.  Daphne is not alone anymore", he said.

Cilia quoted Pope Francis, who last July called for judges to be independent and be safe from favouritism and from pressures that could contaminate the decisions they have to make, and called for prayers for "the competent authorities recognise to carry out their duty without fear or favour."

A silent gathering was held in Bidnija earlier in the day. 

 

Photos: Alenka Falzon


 

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