‘Ex­treme right’ Marsa protest go­ing ahead de­spite may­ors’ boy­cott

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - NEWS -

A protest ‘sol­i­dar­ity walk’ to high­light the con­cern of Marsa’s res­i­dents re­gard­ing the level of crime in the area, which they at­tribute to the highly con­cen­trated African pop­u­la­tion, is ex­pected to go ahead as planned to­day, de­spite the fact that the Marsa mayor – along with the may­ors of sev­eral sur­round­ing lo­cal­i­ties – have pulled out be­cause they say the event has been hi­jacked by ‘ex­treme right el­e­ments’.

The may­ors of Marsa, Ham­run, Paola, Pi­età, Msida, Gzira and Flo­ri­ana will not be join­ing the protest, ac­cord­ing Lo­cal Coun­cils As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Mario Fava. On Friday, Mr Fava said that the may­ors had reached their de­ci­sion based on the fact that the protest had been taken over by far right el­e­ments, and, in fact, “the orig­i­nal group of peo­ple who or­gan­ised the protest are not par­tic­i­pat­ing for the same rea­son.”

He added: “The may­ors and coun­cil­lors, along with Lo­cal Coun­cil As­so­ci­a­tion, are con­tin­u­ing talks with the govern­ment to in­crease se­cu­rity in the areas in­volved. The govern­ment has lis­tened to the views of the may­ors, res­i­dents and work­ers in the area, and there has al­ready been an im­pact.”

In an­other state­ment, on Thurs­day, the Sol­i­dar­ity with Mi­grants group con­demned “any xeno­pho­bic gath­er­ing aimed at tar­get­ing par­tic­u­lar groups and blam­ing them for all the ills that af­fect par­tic­u­lar areas.

“Pub­lic dis­plays that fo­ment anti-im­mi­gra­tion sen­ti­ments un­justly tar­get com­mu­ni­ties that al­ready suf­fer prej­u­dice and dis­crim­i­na­tion and fail to ad­dress the real causes of the un­de­ni­able so­cial ills that ex­ist and that af­fect all the res­i­dents of an area, be they lo­cal-born or for­eign­ers.”

The Maltese group said it un­der­stands the ten­sions un­der which cer­tain town and vil­lage com­mu­ni­ties are liv­ing, and crit­i­cised the au­thor­i­ties “that have, for years, turned a blind eye to the fac­tors that were con­stantly fo­ment­ing such ten­sion”, but said it be­lieves that the way for­ward is “to have all the com­mu­ni­ties within par­tic­u­lar areas come to­gether and, with the rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties, ad­dress the root causes of the prob­lems that af­fect the lo­cal­i­ties in ques­tion, which in­clude poverty, so­cial ex­clu­sion and a fail­ure to pro­vide the cul­tural, psy­cho­log­i­cal and di­dac­tic means that would en­able in­te­gra­tion and so­cial well-be­ing.”

Sol­i­dar­ity with Mi­grants in­vited politi­cians and other pub­lic fig­ures to seek long-term and in­clu­sive so­lu­tions that would truly ben­e­fit Maltese so­ci­ety “rather than my­opi­cally sup­port such xeno­pho­bic dis­plays”.

File photograph of the 5 Septem­ber po­lice raid on Marsa Photo: Baskal Mal­lia

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