The Malta Independent 26 June 2022, Sunday

Watch - 'Black Lives Matter' vs 'All Lives Matter': Two groups of protesters in Valletta

Giulia Magri Monday, 8 June 2020, 17:59 Last update: about 3 years ago

Two groups of protesters with different aims met in Freedom Square in Valletta this evening, with one group protesting against discrimination showed to migrants and black people while the other defended the right of the Maltese to enjoy their country.

The official activity was organised by the Black Lives Matter movement, and was sparked by the death of George Floyd in the United States last week.

But a distinct group of protesters, who follow the slogan "All Lives Matter" and proclaim themseles as patriots, turned up with Maltese flags and their own slogans such as "Do not take advantage of our kindness" and "Return to sender". 

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Photos/videos Alenka Falzon

They kept themselves apart from the other protesters, who carried signs reading "Black Lives Matter", "Justice for Lassana" and "My colour is not a crime".

There was a large contingent of police officers in Freedom Square, just outside the Parliament building, separating the two groups.

Shouts of "Black lives matter" contrasted with the "Send them back" and "Barra" chants, as the two groups tried to out-voice each other.

“Black Lives Matter in Malta” was meant to be a sit-in peaceful protest to show solidarity with migrants in Malta who face daily discrimination and to demand justice for Lassana Cisse, who was killed in an alleged racially motivated drive-by shooting by two AFM soldiers.

The two soldiers charged with Cisse’s murder are now out on bail.

Anti-migration sentiment was triggered again these past few days more than 400 migrants were brought to shore after spending weeks on pleasure boats after being rescued in waters between Libya and Malta. The Maltese government tried to reach a solution with the European Union for their relocation, but all attempts were futile.

On Saturday evening, the government decided to bring the migrants ashore after some tried to take over one of the vessels. In a statement the government said that it was not ready to endanger the lives of the lives of the crew members because the EU was failing to take action on a redistribution scheme.

In other recent events, Malta goalkeeper Rashed Al-tumi was racially insulted on his social media page by an official from San Gwann FC’s nursery. The official told Al-tumi to “go to your country”; to which Al-tumi replied with a picture of himself and 10 national team-mates singing the Maltese national anthem before an international football match. The officer has been sacked.

George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was murdered after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes, as he repeated “I can’t breathe”. His murder has reignited the Black Lives Matter movement in America, which has spread across the globe. Despite of COVID-19, hundreds have attended protests around the world, calling for solidarity and to end racism.

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