1 Jun 2007

Fiji police to enforce Public Order Act

9:23 am on 1 June 2007

Fiji police will become the first line of law enforcement following the lifting of the Public Emergency Regulations in the country last night.

And they will enforce provisions of the Public Order Act - a 30 year old piece of legislation designed to prevent incitement to violence or disobedience of the law.

The interim prime minister, Commodore Bainimarama, says the home affairs ministry would closely monitor the situation and ensure that the Public Order Act is strictly enforced.

The Act makes it an offence for anyone to incite violence and disobedience of the law, incite racial antagonism, disturb the public peace or hold public gatherings without a permit.

As well, it is an offence to maliciously fabricate or knowingly spread or publish any false news or false report to create or foster public alarm and anxiety.

The Act also makes it an offence for a person to act in a manner prejudicial to public safety or to the peace and good order of Fiji.

Commodore Bainimarama says anyone found guilty of these offences would be investigated, and arrested and charged.

The deposed prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, has told the Fiji Sun he is not aware of all the provisions of the Public Order Act and reserved his comments.