13 Dec 2010

Fiji march cancellation a surprise

4:43 pm on 13 December 2010

The organiser of a human rights march in Fiji says its last minute cancellation came as a surprise as police appeared satisfied there'd be no unruly behaviour.

The NGO Coalition on Human Rights had been given a permit in November for up to 300 members from seven groups to march in celebration of World Human Rights Day.

Police revoked the permit two days before the march.

Fiji's interim leader Commodore Frank Bainimarama later said it was a precautionary measure after the US Embassy alerted its citizens to possible unruliness.

The coalition's Deputy Chair, Reverend Akuila Yabaki, says police were concerned things might get out hand but after his talks with them on Wednesday they seemed satisfied it would be a disciplined peaceful event.

"There may have been some suggestion that there was a plan which we do not have first hand information about. They may have had it but we do not have any links with any unruly crowd. We're quite clear that the International Human Rights Day march had no association whatsoever with the idea of the crowd becoming unruly. It's not us."

NGO Coalition on Human Rights spokesman, Reverend Akuila Yabaki