Supporters of Maltese Prime Minister Dom Mintoff were out in force yesterday (Monday) to demonstrate their approval for his deadline on a British withdrawal from the island.
Supporters of Maltese Prime Minister Dom Mintoff were out in force yesterday (Monday) to demonstrate their approval for his deadline on a British withdrawal from the island. A cheering, waving crowd mobbed the Premier's car as he arrived to make a new statement to the Maltese Parliament. A few people carried anti-British placards.
The following day, the British announced that their withdrawal would start by the end of the week -- though there's no chance of it being completed by Mr. Mintoff's January 15th deadline. In England, men of the Irish Rangers -- who were recalled from their Christmas leave to help with the evacuation -- were preparing to fly out to the island immediately. They will provide the extra manpower for moving stores and equipment.
B.B.C. camera crews covered both the demonstration in favour of Mr. Mintoff and preparations by the Irish Rangers to leave their base. There is natural sound throughout the coverage.
SYNOPSIS: In Malta, Prime Minister Dom Mintoff got one of his biggest demonstrations of support on Monday. He was arriving at the island's Parliament to make a new statement on the withdrawal of British forces from Maltese bases. A few people in the crowd carried anti-British slogans and posters.
The enthusiastic applause continued as the Maltese leader re-emerged. At the parliamentary session, he announced that he would call on foreign support to dislodge the British if necessary. London, in the meantime, was stating that the British withdrawal would start next Saturday -- women and children first. It was intended that the families of all servicemen should be evacuated from the island by January 14th the day before Mr. Mintoff's deadline for complete withdrawal.
Back in England, more troops were preparing to leave for Malta. They're men of the Irish Rangers, and they had been recalled from their Christmas leave so they could fly to Malta and help with the evacuation. Even with the added help, Britain says the withdrawal of troops and rundown of installations won't be completed until the end of March.