22 Nov 2016

NFP leader says new permit requirements "draconian"

7:24 am on 22 November 2016

The leader of the National Federation Party in Fiji, Biman Prasad, says the party now has to apply for a police permit to hold even private meetings.

The party held a committee meeting for about 50 members at its Suva headquarters at the weekend to discuss new policies and issues facing the electorate.

Professor Prasad said it's the first time the party has had to get a permit for such a meeting.

He said the police have a new interpretation of the law saying a permit is needed for meetings of three or more if issues of national interest are to be discussed.

NFP leader Biman Prasad.

NFP leader Biman Prasad. Photo: RNZI / Alex Perrottet

The NFP leader said the permit's conditions for Saturday's meeting were also concerning.

"One of the conditions of the permit was the event organisers are to confine their activities to the objectives of the event and abstain from remarks which can be definitely inciting or provoking," he said.

"Who defines what is inciteful or provoking? What do you mean by provoking? So these are draconian measures to stifle the opposition."

Professor Prasad said many of the party's members are now afraid of attending meetings.