8 Sep 2016

Fiji police shut down NGO meeting

8:08 pm on 8 September 2016

Dialogue Fiji says the police shut-down of its event is confusing and could impact on the ability of other civil society groups to meet.

The NGO, which focuses on resolving Fiji's problems, was scheduled to hold a three-day forum on the sugar industry this week but police stopped the event, saying it did not have the required permit for a public meeting.

Government attempts at reform of the industry, which suffered a major blow from Cyclone Winston, have been criticised by sugar cane farmers in the past.

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The sugar cane industry was hard hit by Cyclone Winston which devastated Fiji in February. Photo: RNZ

Dialogue Fiji executive director Nilesh Lal said his organisation has held many fora before without a permit.

Mr Lal said the latest event was by invite only and at a local resort where attendance could be controlled.

"So it was not a public meeting per se so that came as a surprise and then of course that interpretation of the law is very problematic from our perspective because it will have very severe implications for other NGO work that involves getting people together."

He said the meeting was about solving issues in the sugar industry and had nothing to do with politics.