CHIEF Minister Fabian Picardo has said he will have talks with organisers of yesterday’s ‘Open Your Eyes’ protest march.

The demonstration, which was called off last month because of social distancing fears, was attended by around 150 people on June 29.

The group marched from Casemates to No.6 Convent Place chanting ‘Enough is Enough’ and ‘No More Lies’.

Organisers of the protest are against the closing to traffic of Line Wall Road, the new day charges at Mid-Town parking and the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

The Chief Minister met the organisers at the door of the Government’s offices and today agreed to explain to them why these changes had taken place in person.

“I look forward to better explain the Government’s position on some of the issues that they are raising and better hear their views on the subjects,” said Picardo.

“If they have an open mind, they will understand what the Government is doing and why we are doing it.

“We take our mandate seriously and we will never let the people of Gibraltar down, although we accept that we cannot please everyone all of the time!”

Bandwagon

However, the Chief Minister also expressed his frustration at how members of certain parties were at the protest even though those parties had supported these policies.

He accused them of ‘jumping on the bandwagon’ and ‘using it for their partisan ends’.

Although GSD Opposition MP Daniel Feetham was at the demonstration the party did not officially support the ‘Open Your Eyes’ (OYE) group that organised it.

New party Together Gibraltar also gave the protest march the cold shoulder, accusing it of ‘flaunting social distancing norms’ although it did agree with some of the issues raised.

The demonstration had been inflamed by a Fabian Picardo tweet about a banner which he said spoke about the ‘culture of entitlement’ in Gibraltar.

On this matter, Leader of the Opposition Keith Azopardi defended the right to community care first established by the GSLP.

“When people do their sums and plan retirement on the basis of what’s always been paid after a lifetime of work, payment of tax & social insurance they expect fairness if the system is changed,” said Azopardi.

“It isn’t a sign of a culture of entitlement for people to want fairness in Community Care.”

During the COVID-19 crisis, Picardo had warned of hard times to come with the global recession followed by what could be a hard Brexit.

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