26 Nov 2016

No interference in Fiji march ban, says Roads boss

6:39 am on 26 November 2016

Fiji Roads Authority's chief executive says the decision to deny a permit for a Human Rights Day march was made without government interference.

Pro democracy banner in Suva

Human rights march was banned for fear of causing congestion Photo: RNZ / Philippa Tolley

John Hutchinson said, despite what had been suggested in Fiji social media, the decision was an independent one.

A tenet of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the right to peaceful assembly.

Mr Hutchinson said the march organiser's intention was to create as much disruption as possible.

He said the application was declined twice because of potential congestion and inconvenience to Suva's CBD on a Saturday morning.

Mr Hutchinson noted that if government were to intervene on behalf of Human Rights advocates, the 10 December march could go ahead.

"Should I receive ministerial direction to permit the march, of course I will. We'll then have to co-ordinate with the police, the appropriate traffic management and safety measures to ensure that the march proceeds safely, and that the resultant disruption to the general public is managed in as safe and efficient a manner as possible."