Activists storm into Malta PM's office to demand his resignation

Activists force their way into the 16th-century building asking Muscat to quit over the 2017 killing of a journalist.

    Activists storm into Malta PM's office to demand his resignation
    Activists sit after barging into the building housing Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat's office [Mark Zammit Cordina/Reuters]

    Activists have barged into the building that houses the office of Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to demand his immediate resignation amid an investigation into the 2017 killing of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

    Muscat is not directly implicated in the investigation but has said he will resign on January 12 after an election for a new leader of his ruling Labour Party.

    Testimony by the self-confessed middleman in the murder plan has linked people in the prime minister's inner circle to attempts at a cover-up.

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    About 40 activists surprised policemen and soldiers early on Monday as they forced their way into the 16th-century building in capital Valletta from a side entrance, armed with drums, whistles, flags and loud hailers.

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    They sat down and blocked the entrance, chanting for Muscat to quit. He was not in the building at the time.

    Caruana Galizia, described by supporters as a "one-woman WikiLeaks", highlighted corruption in Malta, including among politicians, before she was killed by a car bomb in October 2017.

    'Political murder'   

    The political stability of the Mediterranean island has been rocked by the case in recent weeks. 

    Muscat's chief of staff Keith Schembri was named among those involved or aware of the plot. Schembri has resigned and is under investigation. He has denied any wrongdoing.

    "Malta has reached rock bottom. This is not just about corruption, but about political murder," the activists said over a loud hailer during their protest.

    They said Muscat's position was untenable and demanded a comprehensive investigation of all the people named, "not a cover-up".

    Police and soldiers watched over the activists who made no attempt to go upstairs, where the administrative offices are located. 

    SOURCE: News agencies