In exactly one week from now, Malta embarks upon its first anniversary with COVID-19 on the islands, that's 365 days of pandemic life. The virus has dominated our lives over the last year, peaking just last week as Malta shattered records, registering 263 new cases in a single day for the first time ever.
With no end in sight, a public sentiment of weariness and a tendency to risk the dangers of the coronavirus, especially among young people, continues to grow. Tired of being forced inside, party-goers are finding new ways to release frustrations which have been building up for almost a year.
“I missed this, it’s exciting, I missed the feeling, I missed being around people, I hadn’t seen a crowd like that in over a year” an eyewitness who attended the illegal rave told SideStreet.
“I got invited through a forwarded message on Whatsapp, we were told to keep the event on the hush to avoid drawing attention”
Around 100-150 people attended the illegal rave on Friday, which was haphazardly put together at the White Rocks complex in Pembroke, our anonymous source told us. The organisers rented sound equipment and lights to decorate the venue, but nobody was asked to wear masks or social distance.
“Of course it was a risk, of course it was probably the stupid thing to do, but it just seemed like too good an opportunity to pass up. I had been craving something like this for ages”
The music went on till the late hours of the night until a squad police showed up at around 2:30am to shut the party down.
“All of a sudden the music just turned off and a sense of panic spread through the crowd. I could see the organisers being put into handcuffs, so I got out of there as soon as possible. Once the situation fizzled out I turned back to find my friend, but a police officer caught me and said “get out of here, just leave, now”.
Videos which leaked into the mainstream media have drawn the ire of the general public. Many have called the event outright disrespectful and symbolising an attitude which forms part of the main reason Malta’s daily case numbers continue to surge.
But with pandemic fatigue well and truly setting in, illicit behind-doors activities such as these are on the rise, and the desire for revelers to attend reflects a wider mental health risk which cannot be ignored either.
SideStreet Malta has reached out to the police asking for more information. Specifically we asked whether any fines were issued or arrests were made. At the time of publishing, our questions remain unanswered…
UPDATED: Police Issue Charges Against One Of The Organisers In a reply to our questions police responded with the following statement:
"Kindly note that in the early hours of Saturday, 27th February 2021, the St. Julian's Police Station received information that an illegal party was ongoing in the area known as 'White Rocks'. The Police went on site and found that a party, with a large number of attendees was taking place in the basement of the mentioned complex.
The crowd dispersed as soon as they noticed police presence, however, the alleged organiser was identified onsite and will be charged accordingly for organizing a mass event during the Covid-19 Pandemic and also for holding a commercial activity without a license from the regulatory authority."