Speaker rebukes protesters for ‘uncivil’ behaviour and ups security

Miguela Xuereb

The Speaker of the house od representative, Dr Anglu Farrugia said that if the the security of the house is threatened, he would have no option but to suspend the sitting. Question time was characterised by shouts and a general level of agitation which is unusual in a sitting. Speaker Farrugia said that the sitting would not be allowed to turn into a noisy one

Security measures in Parliament have been bolstered today after yesterday’s protests, with Speaker Anġlu Farrugia confirming he consulted with the police in the aftermath.

Thousands of people converged outside Parliament yesterday – which saw the resignation of the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri and Minister Konrad Mizzi and the “self-suspension” of minister Chris Cardona – and Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s car was pelted with eggs, carrots and toilet paper by a mocking crowd.

Another protest is taking place this evening, and in brief remarks made at the start of today’s sitting, Dr Farrugia, a former police officer, highlighted the minor damage suffered by cars exiting parliament as he said that security procedures were revised “in the interest of each and every one of us.”

The Speaker also seized the opportunity to admonish MPs for their behaviour in yesterday’s rowdy sitting, characterised by shouting matches and in which Minister Carmelo Abela and government MP Anthony Agius Decelis had to be physically restrained.

Yesterday’s sitting was suspended on a number of occasions, but Dr Farrugia warned that if such incidents repeated themselves, he was ready to immediately adjourn the sitting for the day this time round.

“It is not a measure I wish to resort to, but one I am ready to take,” he said.