18 May 2012

Fiji police commissioner says no discrimination in march cancellation

6:57 pm on 18 May 2012

Fiji's Police Commissioner says his organisation doesn't discriminate and the only reason it cancelled yesterday's planned Pride march through Suva was for safety reasons.

Brigadier General Ioane Naivalurua says in a media release that a permit for the march was reversed because there were concerns about the safety of the group given the increased media attention towards the event.

Oceania Pride organised what was to be the country's first march against homophobia, and a trustee Roshika Deo, says the group received a police permit for the event last month.

Ms Deo is skeptical of the police claim that safety concerns were behind the cancellation of the permit.

"They said they didn't realise it was a gay march and we explained to them it's a peaceful march, and it's a human rights march, but they were like 'no we overlooked it, we didn't realise it was a gay march and we can't have a gay march'."

Roshika Deo says the group had organised for eight traffic police officers to be present at the march.