11 Nov 2013

Fiji police defend arrests on budget day

2:45 pm on 11 November 2013

The police in Fiji are defending their decision to arrest a group of silent protesters in Suva on budget day, saying it was not unconstitutional.

The 14 women and young people had been having a meal near the Fiji Revenue Customs Authority building, wearing t-shirts calling on the government to make the budget public.

A police spokesperson, Ana Naisoro, says the group was held for routine questioning but all were released by Friday evening.

She says the police can arrest and question people over their intentions under the Public Order Decree and that does not go against the new constitution, which allows for peaceful demonstrations.

"It's just because what was stated on the t-shirt and we just wanted to find more as to the timing and the actual intent of meeting and gathering in such as place and also calling on the Government in such to make the budget public."

Ana Naisoro says investigations are continuing.