12 Apr 2008

Group holding peace vigils in Fiji says it will continue to protest

9:23 am on 12 April 2008

A group holding a a series of peace vigils in Fiji says they will continue to protest, despite 17 people being arrested at a gathering outside the Chinese embassy.

The group was taken away by police after protesting China's human rights abuses in Tibet outside the Embassy in Suva on Thursday afternoon, and detained until late that night.

Shamima Ali, coordinator of the Fiji women's crisis centre and human rights commissioner, says the vigils have been going on since 2000.

She says they will continue their actions.

"But we're also trying to find out what are we allowed to do and what are we not allowed to do. There's no emergency regulations, so some of us are investigating all avenues and trying to find out whether, you know, we are allowed to hold peaceful vigils or not, which constitutionally, we should be allowed to."

Shamiman Ali says no one would have thought they were breaking any law, if the chinese embassy hadn't intervened.

Charges of unlawful assembly are expected to be laid early next week.