The Malta Independent 29 September 2022, Thursday
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Barriers surrounding Parliament to remain in place until ‘permanent solution’ is found - Speaker

Albert Galea Thursday, 7 July 2022, 11:40 Last update: about 4 months ago

The metal crowd barriers which surround Parliament will not be going anywhere any time soon, with Speaker Anglu Farrugia saying that they will remain in place until a “permanent solution” to ensure the protection of the building is found.

Farrugia was replying to a Parliamentary Question posed by PN MP Darren Carabott on Wednesday.

Carabott asked whether the crowd barriers – which have been in place since late 2019 – which surround the Parliament building will be removed, particularly as they go against the artistic philosophy of the building.

The Speaker replied that while he appreciated the artistic philosophy behind the building, he was also “conscious of the responsibility of the safety of MPs and the building and to ensure therefore that they have all the necessary protection.”

“The Speaker feels that until a permanent solution to this is found, the crowd barriers should continue to be used to clearly delineate the zone close to where MPs and Parliamentary Committees meet which the Speaker has a duty to protect,” Farrugia said.

He pointed out that after discussions with the Parliament’s security services at the start of this legislature, the number and spread of these barriers were reduced considerably.

The barriers were put in place in November 2019, when thousands took to the streets to protest against Joseph Muscat’s government following the arrest of businessman Yorgen Fenech and Muscat’s chief of staff Keith Schembri in connection with the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Schembri was later released without charge, but the protests continued unabated around Parliament and around the Prime Minister’s office at Castille.  Muscat subsequently stepped down as Prime Minister.

 

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