15 Mar 2013

EU statement on right of assembly welcomed by Fiji women's group

3:28 pm on 15 March 2013

The head of the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre, Shamima Ali, says she welcomes the statement from the EU, which calls on the Fiji government to respect the right to peaceful assembly.

A week ago, Fiji police cited security reasons for cancelling the annual International Women's Day march.

Now the women's minister's office says the march was cancelled because of the weather.

Ms Ali says the restrictions were in contradiction to the military leader's comments made on the day about advancing women's rights.

She says happy celebrations and a lot of talk are what suits the government.

"At this point in time they can do anything. They can change the date, they can change processes and so on. And this is an example of that. They will have International Women's Day when it suits them. And how they want have it so there's no activism."

Shamima Ali says the weather was beautiful on the evening of International Women's Day, and in 20 years, it has never stopped the marches from going ahead.