Let’s be clear about this. The government’s action to remove protest banners moments after they are put up on the basis of planning or environmental laws it habitually ignores in all other cases is the illegal abuse of basic civil rights.

Yesterday an angry and annoyed man was filmed going down Saqqaja Road removing small cardboard posters tied to some of the few surviving trees on our roadscape. He was hot and bothered. Because of the weather, because of the camera filming him, maybe because of what the messages said. But he was mostly hot and bothered because public cleansing was not what he signed up for when he joined the police force.

Yep, the poor sod is a police officer whose instructions for public utility of the day was to remove those cardboard posters that Il-Kenniesa set up. You could see the logic creaking through his overworked brain cells. If il-Kenniesa are so bloody keen on cleaning up why am I expected to clean after them? And if they’re so smart to do this in the cool wee hours of the July midnight breeze why are my bosses sending me to do this when even cardboard is too hot to the touch?

He was the last in a series of police officers sent out to enforce obscure laws officers are habitually instructed to ignore. Because it is not the cardboard or the strings stuck on trees that offends the environmental sensibilities of a government that caresses green things that grow with axes and mechanical shovels.

It is what is written that provokes such swift law enforcement action.

That is what makes the action itself illegal. It is a suppression of fundamental rights; it prevents the free flow of ideas, it stifles protest, it gives people in power a sacred status and adopts as law a mediaeval offence of lèse-majesté.

Why should this bother you if you never meant to call the prime minister names? Because the law could now be used at any time as a pretext to deny you any one of your rights, some of which might actually hurt you. A law might be used to push you down the line of priorities to access public services. A law might be used to take your property away from you. A law might be used to deny you justice when the courts think you should get it.

You know you’ve seen all of this before, and in some case, it has happened to you or your family in its history.

And when all is taken away from you, you will then need the right to break your silence and complain. Except that you will have given it up when you allowed Il-Kenniesa’s home made posters removed on the whim of an insulted prime minister.

When we argue for the rule of law, we must also insist that illegal laws and illegal and discriminatory and delinquent enforcement of the law are disobeyed and defied.

Il-Kenniesa need no egging on to put up posters again when others were removed. #occupyjustice last night defied the trend by putting their own ‘red card’ series on street furniture.

Every time they remove these, they show the contempt they have for the limits of their power, the contempt they have for your rights. Every time they remove these, more show up.