The Malta Independent 27 September 2020, Sunday

Tension at Castille as demonstrators attacked, journalists temporarily stopped from leaving

Friday, 29 November 2019, 13:21 Last update: about 11 months ago

There were tense scenes inside and outside the Office of the Prime Minister last night as unknown ‘security’ officials clashed with demonstrators and briefly blocked journalists from exiting the Auberge de Castille.

Tensions were high all night as demonstrators gathered in front of Castille, holding placards and shouting through megaphones. A number of ministers’ drivers and other Labour people stood to one side. There were some heated exchanges while the cabinet meeting was underway but the situation really heated up when the press were called inside at around 2.40am. At this point, several demonstrators rushed towards the side door and demanded that they be let inside.

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Police officers intervened, with journalists eventually being allowed inside after the situation had calmed down. Matthew Caruana Galizia was refused entry since he did not have a press card. His younger brother, Paul, had a press card and was allowed into the press conference.

Journalists were frisked on their way in – a procedure that has never been used before.

A number of the ‘security’ people that had been waiting outside were also allowed into the Ambassador’s Hall, where the press conference was held, and stayed at the back.

When the press conference was finished, journalists were told that they had to wait for a few minutes before being allowed to exit the room. This is the usual procedure followed at the Office of the Prime Minister but things escalated when the ‘security’ officials refused to identify themselves with journalists or tell them why they were not being let out.

The doors were opened after a few minutes but the commotion continued, with Paul Caruana Galizia yelling at the officials and at a number of cabinet members who were having coffees across the hall.

A few moments later, there were clashes on Merchants Street, with a number of these unknown individuals chasing down and shouting abuse at the demonstrators.

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