29 Apr 2019

Police tighten security in Fiji ahead of Asian Development Bank meeting

2:49 pm on 29 April 2019

More than 400 police officers have been deployed to the Fijian town of Nadi amid heightened security for a major international meeting this week.

Two thousand-plus delegates from around the world are gathering for the Asian Development Bank meeting which is expected to discuss issues such as poverty, inequality and climate change.

Police in Suva following the election

Photo: RNZ Pacific/ Koroi Hawkins

The Assistant Commissioner of Police, Maretino Qiolevu, said the high police presence is to ensure the meetings are held without any major incidents.

He said the eyes of the world will be on Fiji after months of planning.

"Months of planning and preparation, and for some, sleepless nights, is finally upon us as we begin our operations for the 52nd ADB annual meeting and the eyes of the world will be on Fiji, and whether as a small Pacific nation we have the ability to host an annual event of this magnitude," he said.

The meeting, which takes place from Wednesday until Sunday, comes as union leaders plan a nationwide protest over labour issues.

The Fiji Trades Union Congress (FTUC) has applied to the police for a permit to march in Nadi on Saturday over matters such as the national minimum wage, labour law reforms, and the right to strike.

A typical street scene in Nadi, Fiji

A typical street scene in Nadi, Fiji Photo: RNZ / Koroi Hawkins

Fiji's economy minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum is quoted by FBC News appealing to people not to use the ADB meeting to undermine Fiji's reputation.

The FTUC has 35 member unions representing civil servants, teachers, nurses, hotel workers, airline staff workers, flight attendants, transport workers, municipal council workers, university staff, sugar mill workers and factory workers.