15 Mar 2012

Fiji's SDL party refused permit to meet on constitution

3:02 pm on 15 March 2012

One of Fiji's main political parties says the police have turned down the party's request to meet over the country's new constitution.

This comes as the Fiji regime promises all voices will be heard during consultations on the new document.

Sally Round reports.

"The SDL party had applied to the police for a permit so officials could meet and discuss their submission on the constitution. Despite the lifting of emergency law, permits are still required for gatherings under the Public Order Amendment Decree. A party staff member says it is the first time the party had applied for a permit and there is surprise its request had been turned down. The staff member who did not want to be named for fear of intimidation says it goes to show Fiji people are still being suppressed. The SDL party leader Laisenia Qarase says he's seeking more information and police were not immediately available to comment. Mr Qarase was ousted as Prime Minister in the 2006 coup and the regime has described him as an example of a politician not wanted in the country."