Vandalism or accident? Wall collapses in Valletta gardens

Police have been asked to check CCTV footage after a 200-year-old staircase in Valletta’s Upper Barrakka Gardens was badly damaged.

A number of stone balustrades leading down to the Saluting Battery, run by Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna were left smashed to pieces.

The trust’s chairman Mario Farrugia branded it ‘senseless vandalism’.

He blasted on Facebook: ‘A stretch of balustrades at the back of Lord Strickland’s monument was found toppled onto the graceful stairs leading down to the Saluting Battery.

‘The balustrades were in good condition before the incident which suggests that this was yet another case of senseless vandalism.

‘The stairs are very often target of vandalism especially when the Saluting Battery is closed to visitors.

‘It is indeed a shame that while our dedicated staff and volunteers spend a lot of time and energy to conserve our cultural heritage you still get modern day troglodytes who are are hell bent to undo all the good work.’

 

However Bay Easy fan Nathanael Theuma, who claimed he witnessed what happened in the public gardens, said the damage was probably accidental.

He posted on Bay Easy‘s Facebook page: ‘I was leaving the Upper Barrakka Gardens on Sunday, heard the noise of the falling balustrade and saw a woman moving away from the spot looking terrified, scared and shocked.

‘Most probably she was leaning upon the balustrade to look down and it gave way. Thank God she didn’t hurt herself.

‘It was a sunny morning and the place was quite crowded with tourists, so surely it couldn’t have been an act of vandalism but an accident.’

Valletta Local Council said CCTV footage would be checked by the police to see if the incident was caught on camera.

The Saluting Battery hosts a row of eight cannons, including the midday gun which is fired at noon every day in an old Royal Navy tradition to signal the exact time to ship commanders in the Grand Harbour.

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