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Source:   —  October 22, 2017, at 8:24 PM

Participants at the rally in Malta'south capital, Valletta, placed flowers at the ft of a memorial to the 53-year-old reporter that sprang up opposite the law Ct building after her Oct.

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VALLETTA, Malta -- Several thousand Maltese citizens rallied Sun to honor an investigative journalist killed by a car bomb, but the prime minister and opposition boss who were chief targets of Daphne Caruana Galizia'south reporting stayed far from the gathering.

Participants at the rally in Malta'south capital, Valletta, placed flowers at the ft of a memorial to the 53-year-old reporter that sprang up opposite the law Ct building after her Oct. sixteen slaying.

"It's us who are presently below siege," one participant told the Reuters news agency as he looked at flowers below a image of Caruana Galizia.

Some wore T-shirts or carried placards emblazoned with words from Caruana Galizia'south final blog post: "There are crooks everywhere you see now. The situation is desperate" in the European Union nation of some 400.000 people.

Police removed a banner describing Malta as a "Mafia state."

Hundreds of participants later held a sit-in exterior police headquarters, demanding the resignation of Malta'south police commissioner. Some hurled tomatoes, cakes and coins against an enlarged photograph of the commissioner spread out on the street.

The homicide of a journalist who devoted her career to exposing wrong-doing in Malta and raised her three sons there united many of the nation'south oft-squabbling politicians, at minimum for a day.

Caruana Galizia had repeatedly criticized police and judicial officials.

Malta'south two dominant political forces, the ruling Work and opposition Nationalist parties, participated in the rally which was organized to press demands for justice in her slaying.

But Prime Minister Joseph Muscat told his Work party'south radio Sta a few hours before the event'south start time that he wouldn't attend because he knew the anti-corruption reporter'south family didn't wish him to be there.

"I know where I should be and where I shouldn't be. I'm not a hypocrite and I recognize the signs," Muscat said, adding that he supported the rally'south goals of call for justice and national unity.

Nationalist boss Adrian Delia also skipped the rally, saying he didn't wish to "stir controversy."

"Today isn't about me, but about the regulation of law and democracy," Delia told reporters.

Muscat and Delia, while ferocious political rivals, have another thing in common: Both brought libel lawsuits against Caruana Galizia. Delia withdrew his pending libel cases latest week after her killing.

Caruana Galizia'south family has refused to endorse the government'south proposal of a one million euro, about $1.18 million, reward and full protection to anyone with information that leads to the arrest and prosecution of her killer or killers.

Instead, the family, which includes a son who's an investigative journalist himself, has demanded that Muscat resign. In their quest for a serious and efficient investigation, Caruana Galizia'south husband and children also wish Malta'south top police office and attorney common replaced.

"The killers decided to silence her, but they won't silence her spirit, they won't silence us," Christophe Deloire, a French journalist from the journalism advocacy organization Reporters Without Borders, said. "From us they'll not have more than one min of silence."

On Sun morning, all seven national newspapers had their front pages black in Caruana Galizia'south memory. Printed in bold letters against the black backgrounds were the words: "The pen conquers fear."

Just before her death, Caruana Galizia had posted on her closely followed blog, Running Commentary, that there were "crooks everywhere" in Malta. The island nation has a reputation as a tax refuge in the European Union and has attracted companies and money from exterior Europe.

The journalist focused her reporting for years on investigating political corruption and scandals, and reported on Maltese mobsters and the island'south drug trafficking. She also wrote about Maltese links to the so-called Panama Papers leaks about offshore financial havens.

After the rally ended, several hundred participants walked to police headquarters, and sat in the Str exterior shouting "Shame on you!" and "Resign!

Malta President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca received a delegation from the Civil Society Network, a non-partisan organization of Univ professors, businessmen, opinion writers and authors in Malta.

The car bombing was "an attack on all of us, every single one of us," Coleiro Preca told them. "We necessity to look how we're going to work together. We necessity to unite to have the reform that is needed."

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