#KeepingUpWithTheInterns – The Protests

Hey fellow readers!! Hope everyone is doing great and you are taking good care of yourselves. This week I am going to be writing about something I really enjoy doing: going to protests. In particular, I am going to talk about the last two protests that aditus foundation endorsed.

Did you know that protesting is a right? In fact it is a right that originates from a number of other human rights. There is no human rights instrument or national constitution that gives the full right to protest. The right to protest can be seen as a demonstration of the right to freedom of association, right to freedom of assembly and the right to freedom of speech.

So what happened on 7 March?

A protest was organized by Moviment Graffitti, following the death of Miriam Pace. The tragedy took place when the Pace’s house in Santa Venera collapsed when Miriam was still inside. Miriam Pace, a mother of 2, was found dead under the rubble.  In reaction, Moviment Graffitti called for a non-partisan protest against the unsustainable situation in which our country finds itself in relation to development and construction.

The protest began at 10:30am. A large crowd met in front of St Thomas More College in Santa Venera. When I saw how many people were there, I felt optimistic: there were people with different banners and placards. Moviment Graffitti people had their drums and they began chanting “iż-żejjed kollu żejjed” (“enough is enough”).  The protest was led by people who lost their homes due to building collapses. We moved towards the site of the tragedy where intense and inspiring speeches were delivered.

The most moving moments came when victims of these tragedies spoke of their experiences. Anthea Brincat, whose apartment was destroyed in a separate collapse in Ħamrun last June, said that her family is living in terror. Paul Vella, whose home was destroyed 20 years ago, said “the laws aren’t here to protect us, they’re there to protect people who have money”. Caroline Micallef, who lost her Pietà home last year, angrily said that no investigation had been opened on her case because “nobody had died”.

At that moment I felt I was about to cry. All these innocent people had their lives disrupted by tragedies, and their stories are falling on deaf ears. I felt that the authorities responsible for these matters are not doing anything…that they are neglecting us. What do they care about? I usually get really frustrated when I see these tragedies happening around us and nothing is being done to prevent them!

And what happened on 8 March?

Moviment Graffitti and Women’s Rights Foundation organised a walk in Valletta on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

Women’s Day signifies all the fights, efforts, battles and claims that women from all around the world and in different periods throughout history, have carried out for equality; to improve their lives and to gain freedom and respect.

Dramatically, Malta has witnessed several cases of domestic violence and a number of femicides in the past years, the last case, just at the beginning of February, being that of 34-year old Chantelle Chetcuti, who was brutally murdered by her ex-partner.

Joint statement by the organisers.

We met in front of Parliament building at 3pm. The weather was a bit against us as it had just started to rain a few minutes ago. There were women and girls of all ages, all eager to start the protest! There was a group of women with drums so we could have a beat to the chants we sang. We called for a stop to the objectification of women, behind a banner that read: All different, same struggle. We marched through Republic Street and Merchants Street and headed towards La Valette Square. At La Valette Square, there was a flash mob that spoke of a patriarchal society that held women down. After that a number of activists gave some speeches.



My banner read, ‘Keep your policies off my body’. I believe that every person able to be pregnant has the right to choose what to do in the in case of an unwanted pregnancy.

When I attend a protest I feel really good. I feel proud of myself because it boosts my self-confidence and I start feeling valuable, useful. It gives me satisfaction that I am part of society doing my bit to improve it.

Thank you so much for the support and catch you soon for a next update!

Matthew



#KeepingUpWithTheInterns is part of our project Marginalised Persons as Human Rights Volunteers. If you want to follow Matthew and Rimaz as they navigate their way through Malta’s human rights landscape, subscribe to our News & Updates or follow them on our social media pages!

This project has been funded through the Voluntary Organisations Project Scheme managed by the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector on behalf of Parliamentary Secretary for Youth, Sports and Voluntary Organisations within the Ministry for Education and Employment. This project/publication reflects the views only of the author, and the MEDE and the MCVS cannot be held responsible for the content or any use which may be made of the information contained therein.