NGOs and residents took to the streets in Guardamangia yesterday evening to protest against what they described as “the developers’ dictatorship”. In the light of the accidents which have occurred recently in which a number of homes collapsed because of construction works next door, Moviment Graffitti organised a protest in order to “express their anger against how developers have taken over our country.” During this protest a number of residents and other organisations also took part, starting from the former St Luke’s hospital and walking towards the headquarters of the Malta Developers’ Association, which is located in the same street.
Hundreds of people joined in this protest in G’Mangia where within a space of a few weeks two apartment blocks next to construction sites, had collapsed. Among them were the residents who used to live in these apartment blocks which had collapsed. The protesters carried signs reading “Enough is enough” and “MLPN and developers in cahoots against the people”, while to the sound of drums they sang slogans such as “We are against the developers’ dictatorship”.
Wayne Flask, from Moviment Graffiti said that they were protesting against the arrogance of developers who have choked the country with buildings, dust and noise. He said that they have ruined the chance for families to live in peace.
“With their negligent behaviour, they have caused the homes of Maltese residents to collapse, and we are also here in the name of other residents in almost every town and village in Malta who are suffering from the consequences of construction throughout the whole country.”.
Stopping in front of the MDA offices those present put forward a number of demands so that people will no longer be afraid to live in their homes and so that the bullying and the arrogance of certain developers will stop. They appealed to the authorities not to keep dishing out permits haphazardly and limit the number of permits which are issued yearly. They have asked for the times during which construction and excavation are allowed to be more restricted and to limit the number of streets which can be closed at any one time, as well as the number of parking spaces which can be taken away from residents.
The said that the law should impose decent standards which protect the health and safety of the residents and workers on construction sites, as well as serious enforcement all across the board, without exception, of the laws which govern the industry, in order to protect the dignity of both workers and residents.
The organisers said that now everyone is trying to wash their hands of any responsibility for the accidents which have occurred, and therefore they insisted that all construction sites should be audited by an independent authority, at the expense of the developer.