Over 120 thousand Maltese staged a protest on November 4 against their government's anti-Church stance on the issue of free education.
GV Nationalist Party demonstration in Valletta's streets.
GV ZOOM OUT Opposition leader Eddie Fenech-Adami, carried through streets.
GV Demonstrators waving flags, posters of Adami carried.
GV Rally in Floriana, flags waving, singing.
SV ZOOM IN Adami addressing rally. (SOT)
GV PAN Supporters waving flags, applauding.
SCU Adami continues speech from nostrum. (SOT)
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Background: Over 120 thousand Maltese staged a protest on November 4 against their government's anti-Church stance on the issue of free education. Local schools have been closed since October 1, depriving over 20 thousand children of their education. The dispute between Don Mintoff's Labour Government and the island's Roman Catholic Church began in 1977 when the government stopped all subsidies to parochial schools. When the church refused this year to offer free education to the island's school children, the government revoked the church's licenses and Archbishop Joseph Mercieca ordered the closures. The church maintained that it could not afford to provide free tuition, and stressed that the schools were part of its mission and should not lose their autonomy and identity. The government response was that the people, and not the church, should decide what happened to its schools, adding that the schools had been built with public money. The rallies, held in Valletta and nearby Floriana, were called by the opposition National Party in response to a pro-government demonstration staged on October 27. National Party leader Doctor Eddie Fenech-Adami, who was carried shoulder-high to the rally, said that the government was down-grading Maltese democracy with its stance against the Catholic Church, and called on the people to band together against the government.