No official response from police forces NFP to cancel protest march
October 9, 2019
The National Federation Party has this afternoon informed its members and supporters not to converge into Suva for the protest march scheduled for Fiji Day tomorrow because of the lack of any official response from the Fiji Police Force regarding its permit application.
NFP General Secretary Seni Nabou said up until 4pm today no one in the NFP Management including her as the applicant received any official communication from police regarding the status of the permit application.
“We will not subject our supporters to this sheer inconvenience, uncertainty and arrogant lack of courtesy”.
“We have no choice but to call off the march and we have informed our members and supporters who had been eager to participate. We have cancelled all arrangements made for the march”.
“This sorry saga has once again demonstrated the police’s complete lack of professionalism. The Police Commissioner’s lies in the Fiji Sun newspaper report on Tuesday are deplorable and symptomatic of a quasi-military leader who thinks he is the law unto himself”.
“The fact is the Fiji Roads Authority granted us temporary approval notice yesterday to use the proposed route from Rodwell Road up to the junction opposite Holiday Inn entrance, the Police Commissioner however supposedly jumped the gun the day before and told the Fiji Sun that NFP failed to provide approval from the FRA. This is another atrocious lie”.
“As far as we are concerned, if the police is unable to do its job, follow simple permit approval processes according to the Public Order laws, and respond to us officially in writing as a basic courtesy, then by inference their capacity to maintain law and order is at question.”
“If the Police Commissioner did not give that statement to the Fiji Sun, was it then fake news because up until now we have not received any official or written notification whatsoever from them to that effect”?
“Worse still, as part of FRA’s temporary approval, part of their conditions required us to place and pay for an advertisement in the Fiji Sun informing the public of the road closure at the proposed time of the march. This was duly done after we had extensive negotiations with FRA even up to last night to advertise in the Fiji Times instead, as is our prerogative as a paying applicant”.
“Furthermore another FRA condition of the temporary approval required us to put out radio advertisements as well”.
“When we questioned why there was a need to place an advertisement when the police hadn’t as yet officially communicated anything to us, the FRA informed us that it was a condition of the temporary approval. It is utterly ludicrous, but we complied with that condition regardless as evidenced by the notice on page 39 of today’s Fiji Times.”
“To add injury to insult, we only learned yesterday afternoon that a third permit applicant being the Ministry of Defence also wanted a permit to march, and we had to negotiate further with the FRA to amend our permit hours from 10am to 1pm, then to 11am to 2pm and finally from 12-1pm, in which case the march would then essentially become a marathon instead of an orderly march.”
“This whole situation while a colossal disaster despite us following the law, further erodes our confidence in the Fiji Police Force and its capabilities. Most importantly, the actions of the Commissioner of Police and his attitude towards NFP leaves much to be desired”.
“As a political party that will be 56 years proud this year and that maintains a strong legacy from pre-Independence until now, we remain deterred. Our June AGM unequivocally instructed us to follow through tenaciously to ensure that justice is served and seen to be served for the assault by the Prime Minister of our Party President, Hon Pio Tikoduadua.
“ We will continue to honour the directive of our AGM”.