Black Monday (Malta)

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Black Monday in Malta refers to 15 October 1979 when the Progress Press (publisher of The Times) and the home of Eddie Fenech Adami, then Leader of the Opposition, were ransacked following a rally by the Labour Party.

Background[edit]

A spontaneous political rally was held by Labour supporters following an alleged attempt on Prime Minister Dom Mintoff's life in his offices at the Auberge de Castille, Valletta.

Events[edit]

That evening a large crowd gathered outside the Prime Minister's office in an expression of solidarity and from there marched toward the Progress Press offices on St. Paul Street, Valletta. The building was ransacked and set on fire. Many historical archives were burnt during the fire. Although the printing press was destroyed, The Times was still published as usual the following day (though in a reduced format) from the printing press of the Nationalist Party. The newspaper holds the record of never having missed an issue from its founding day.[1]

Also on this day, believing that their political rivals, the Nationalist Party, had some responsibility for the alleged attempt on the prime minister's life, Malta Labour Party supporters invaded the private residence of Dr. Edward Fenech Adami, leader of the Nationalist Party, ransacking his home and assaulting his wife, Mary, his five children and his elderly mother.

In both incidents the police chose not to intervene.

International response[edit]

The European Parliament and several European governments expressed deep concern regarding these incidents. Three days after Black Monday, Mintoff expressed his personal regret in writing to Mabel Strickland, proprietor of Progress Press. He explicitly condemned the violence in an interview published by the Italian newsmagazine Panorama on November 11.

Aftermath[edit]

The perpetrators were not brought to justice.

References[edit]