18 Jul 2012

Democracy campaigner says Fijians can't speak up in current environment

5:53 pm on 18 July 2012

The Coalition for Democracy in Fiji spokesperson Nik Naidu says the regime can't expect people to contribute freely to the constitution consultation process in the current environment.

Last week, a group of about 14 Labour Party supporters were kept in police custody overnight for meeting in a private home without obtaining a permit.

And police have warned that if three or more people meet to discuss politics, a permit is required.

The regime has insisted that all Fijians will get their say on the new constitution but Mr Naidu, who is based in New Zealand, says that's not the message people are getting.

"They certainly won't if they're being arrested and detained or threatened. It remains to be seen just to what extent there will be freedom in Fiji and to what extent democracy will be returned to Fiji if any, the military is completely in control and they look at any inkling of opposition as being a direct threat to them."

Nik Naidu says people in Fiji have learnt to self-monitor what they say and do.