23 Jun 2006

Fiji protest planned during Princess Anne's visit

1:12 pm on 23 June 2006

An indigenous Fijian organisation is planning a protest during a royal visit by Britain's Princess Anne next month to highlight their grievances.

The Fiji Sun reports that the Christian Indigenous Group is planning the protest march in Suva to persuade the British monarchy to change the constitution on entrenched laws.

The group spokesman, nationalist Saula Telawa, says the protest is aimed at highlighting the need to change the constitution, customary laws governing traditional fishing grounds, and to make into law the proposed new lands lease Bill.

He says they are also considering presenting a petition to President Ratu Josefa Iloilo to be handed over to Princess Anne.

Mr Telawa says the prime minister tried to change the land lease laws in parliament but he failed because he could not get the two-thirds majority required for entrenched legislation.

He says in colonial days the Queen headed the Department of Fijian Affairs and they need her permission to change some of the laws.

Mr Telawa plans to apply for a permit to protest today.