29 Jun 2019

Fiji unionists enraged by Felix Anthony arrest

8:47 am on 29 June 2019

The Fiji Trades Union Congress (FTUC) says it's angry and disgusted after its secretary general, Felix Anthony, was arrested again.

Felix Anthony

Felix Anthony Photo: RNZ

Mr Anthony, who is now out on bail, was charged over a statement he allegedly made to a reporter prior to a planned mass protest on 1 May.

He was arrested late on Thursday night at his home in Lautoka and then driven to Suva in the early hours of Friday morning.

FTUC deputy secretary Attar Singh said the charge was prompted by allegations that Mr Anthony had caused anxiety with a statement about workers' contracts at the Water Authority of Fiji.

The general secretary was also arrested 1 May and held in custody for two days.

Attar Singh

Attar Singh Photo: RNZI / Sally Round

The FTUC is disappointed with the police because, "Felix Anthony was no criminal. Fiji unionists are not criminals", Mr Singh said.

If the police had asked Mr Anthony, "he would have readily fronted himself at the particular police station. There was no need to arrest him in the middle of the night from his home," Mr Singh said.

The latest arrest was yet another example of police harassment of Fiji's unionists, "the intention of course is to keep people suppressed, people intimidated, so that no one carries out any sort of protest.

"This is absolutely disgusting. We are very, very disappointed with police."

Mr Singh said the arrest came just a week after the International Labour Organisation (ILO) had called on Fiji authorities to stop the intimidation, 'but they have done exactly that within a week of the statement being issued".

"So we are quite surprised that authorities here decided to behave in that manner, because obviously they have no regard for what the ILO said and would expect."

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