19 May 2012

Organisers say Fiji police cancelled march when they realised it was for gay rights

8:29 am on 19 May 2012

The organisers of the first planned march against homophobia in Fiji say the police cancelled it at the last minute when they realised it was a gay march.

Oceania Pride organised the event and trustee Roshika Deo says the group received a police permit last month to hold the march in Suva Thursday evening.

But Ms Deo says they were informed by the police Thursday morning that the permit had been cancelled.

"They said they didn't realise it was a gay march and we explained to them it's a peaceful march, and it's a human rights march, but they were like 'no we overlooked it, we didn't realise it was a gay march and we can't have a gay march'."

Roshika Deo is sceptical of a police claim that they cancelled it for safety issues as the group had already organised for eight traffic police officers to be present at the march.

And she says when pressed, the police officers said the decision came from the police commissioner, and the Ministry of Defence.