14 Mar 2006

Protestors fighting to save Fiji's sand dunes await government backing

4:22 pm on 14 March 2006

Dozens of environmental protestors in Fiji are waiting for a written assurance from the Government that it will stop the destruction of sand dunes, which they say are a national treasure.

A spokesperson, Rosemary Steele, says a family which lives next to the dunes near Sigatoka had been removing up to 32 truckloads of sand each day.

Ms Steele says the protestors dispute that the family has any right to take away the sand.

She says the action is culturally and environmentally destructive of what is a national heritage site.

Ms Steele says they have stopped the trucks by protesting at the site but the police have forced them to move.

"We were told if we don't move from the site we will be hauled into the cells. And we have elderly gentlemen here - about 70 to 80 year olds - so just to be safe and sure we have taken them back to the village, and we just do a patrol [to the site]. Go down, check the site and come back and wait for this letter supposedly coming from the government saying that the sand won't be taken."