16 Jul 2002

Fiji cane farmers to ignore police ban on protest marches

11:07 am on 16 July 2002

In Fiji, a group of sugar cane farmers is planning to defy authorities and stage a protest march at the summit of African, Caribbean and Pacific leaders which begins in Nadi tomorrow.

The Daily Post says the farmers are planning to protest over deteriorating roads and bridges in their area which are preventing the cane harvest and have isolated a community of 17 hundred residents.

A spokesman for the group says they have a genuine reason to march and no one can stop them.

But an angry police commissioner, Col Isikia Savua, says anyone in their right mind knows that marching without a permit is illegal.

Col Savua says anyone seen marching will be stopped and arrested and made to feel the full brunt of the law.

Meanwhile, delegates from more than 66 of the 77 countries due to take part in the summit have already registered.

Among those attending will be the South African president, Thabo Mbeki and the newly elected president of East Timor, Zanana Gusmao.