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