18 Oct 2013

Solomons government warned not to frustrate democratic process

5:52 pm on 18 October 2013

A Solomon Islands civil society leader is warning the government not to stop people from exercising their democratic rights.

The Joint Civil Society Group's chairperson Barnabas Henson says three university students were arrested yesterday when a group of about one hundred students marched through town in protest over outstanding dues.

Mr Henson says the acting police commissioner denied his group permission to hold a public forum scheduled for today to discuss a petition calling for the prime minister's resignation.

He says the group will now give the authorities a further 14 days' notice of the intent to hold the forum.

"I actually put out a statement telling the authorities, Well, don't try and frustrate the process because when you do that, you are inviting people to start taking things into their own hands.' A classic example was what happened yesterday when those local university students decided to, you know, take a march and protest on their own."

Barnabas Henson says the students had not requested permission but he doubts very much whether police will allow anyone to march at present.