ERG warns of increasingly worrying trend

‘Equality Rights Group (ERG) congratulates the Parliamentary Opposition for walking out as a block on what in our view can only be characterised as anti-democratic behaviour by Government,’ the Group has stated in a press statement today.

This follows news of a walk-out by both the GSD and Together Gibraltar in protest at the attempt by Government to introduce a motion condemning the Community Care Action Group’s submission of a letter to The Governor of Gibraltar concerning issues of dispute.

‘Whatever the legtimately-held views, tenor or content of a protest by citizens, Government must not interfere with the free exercise of their fundamental rights through practises of this nature. That parliamentary machinery should be misused to quash protest or free thinking by any citizen is, in our view, not just questionably anti-democratic and heavy-handed, it’s political behaviour of the worst kind aiming to suppress freedom; freedom which is guaranteed by the highest law of the land.

‘Our Constitution guarantees a number of important basic rights; and amongst them are those of free expression and protest which, rightly exercised, must not be interfered with. Mechanisms of the sort brought into play on this occasion may add up to intimidation in order to suppress people’s freedoms. And no citizen should feel held back or intimidated from freely exercising their citizenship rights at any time. That is not behaviour that belongs in any democracy.

‘Equality Rights Group stands by both Keith Azopardi and Marlene Hassan Nahon as respective leaders of their political groupings in resisting the diminution of citizens’ free and legitimate rights.

‘Intimidation of citizens by those in power must find an appropriate response. And it is gratifying to see that the whole Parliamentary Opposition wasted no time in responding correctly and appropriately in their condemnation,’ the statement concludes.