26 Aug 2004

Fiji police commissioner under fire from senator

7:18 am on 26 August 2004

The Fiji police commissioner has come under renewed fire from another Fiji government senator.

Senator Mitieli Bulanauca alleges that Andrew Hughes intimidated indigenous Fijians by not allowing them to protest against the jailing of the vice president, Ratu Jope Seniloli.

Radio Legend reports that Senator Bulanauca has told the Upper House, that police refused a permit to some women who wanted to march in protest against the prison sentence.

Mr Bulanauca says Mr Hughes, as an Australian, cannot tell Fijians what to do, because of Australia's treatment of the Aborigines...

"Who is he to come and threaten our people? This man must not be allowed to do what Australians did to the Aborigines - intimidate them, threaten them, separate them, imprison them and destroy them. Who is Mr Hughes to come and teach us how to live and behave when they themselves cannot live and behave to sincerely save and promote the Aborigines?"

Earlier, the government senator, Apisai Tora attacked Mr Hughes saying he had "the gall and the nerve" to come to Fiji, and warn indigenous Fijians on what to say.

Mr Tora added that freedom of speech was a constitutional right in the country.

This led to both Fiji's military commander and the police commissioner to warning Mr Tora to refrain from threatening them, or be ready to face the consequences.