Police refuse to comment

THE Fiji Police Force says it will not respond to a statement issued by the National Federation Party claiming that the refusal by police to give a march and rally permit to the Fiji Trades Union Congress was a suppression of freedom of association and freedom of speech.

Acting deputy Commissioner of Police Rusiate Tudravu said police would not respond to political statements.

NFP leader Professor Biman Prasad claimed the reason given by police for rejecting the permit was based on a totally illogical reason — that the FTUC national secretary was under investigation.

“Less than 18 hours later, the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions ruled that the comments made by the national secretary during a rally following a solidarity march for ATS workers in Nadi on January 24th do not constitute an offence,” he said.

“It is now also logical to ask whether the police independently made its decision to reject the permit or was the force influenced to do so.” Professor Prasad said to prevent its image from being further tarnished, police had to come clean and reveal the truth behind the decision to reject the permit on a non-existent issue.

“This is a serious issue because it has directly breached fundamental freedoms of the workers of this country and indeed everyone who had planned to participate in the march to express solidarity and support the issues that were to be highlighted during the march.

“Breach or violation of any freedom is a breach of human right and a case for the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission to establish what transpired.”

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