There are bigger issues to worry about right now but there will soon be a time when we need to reflect on the way the right of protest is ignored here.
Civil society activists have on a monthly basis raised banners and posters to protest corruption and to demand justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia.
None of the actions left any permanent harm of any sort. And none of them had a particularly difficult reversal. Nothing was broken. Nothing was painted over. Nothing was damaged.
They were messages printed on canvas or on cardboard and carefully stuck with tags that can be easily clipped off. Sometimes they were printed on fabric and draped over brass statues. Sometimes they were projected on a wall.
The protest was always in the message, never in any acts of vandalism. And no hint of violence at all. Ever.
There was never therefore a law and order question here.
But the government has invested massive efforts to strike down within minutes every single sign of protest put up.
Last night activists told me there were more police cars patrolling Valletta than activists attaching posters to railings. They were being chased around town and every poster they put up was removed immediately.
Jason Micallef calls it the ‘rule of law’: that everyone should consistently expect the law to apply equally.
Yes indeed. We expect that law that protects freedom of expression to be upheld. The right of protest, the right of objection, the right of mockery, the right to call for rights to be protected: these are laws that are trampled on as a matter of course.
Democracy does not only work through the ballot-box. Azerbaijan has a ballot-box and it’s no democracy, though it’s a darling model for the tossers that run this country.
Democracy works when the few can speak up without fear of retribution.
Democracy works when a protest is not struck off and a voice is not silenced.
Democracy works when journalists can write without dying in the process.
If you had any hazy doubt the continuation of protest was as relevant now as it was the day she was killed, it should be cleared by the fascist efficiency with which the government seeks to suppress.