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Police Commissioner Issues Stern Warning

Police Commissioner Issues Stern Warning
Police Commissioner Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho in Saweni, Lautoka, on January 11, 2018. Photo: Arieta Vakasukawaqa
January 13
08:47 2018

Police Commissioner Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho says there will not be a repeat of the events that occurred during a protest march in 2000 which was used to topple the Chaudhry Government.

That year, amidst a nationalist protest march, a group of heavily-armed men invaded parliament and held the govern­ment inside, including all its cabinet min­isters captive for 56 days.

The Fiji Trades Union Congress is organising today’s march in support of some Air Terminal Services workers embroiled in a near month-long standoff with management.

“I will not allow and, I repeat, I will not allow anything similar to the events of 2000 to happen under my watch,” Briga­dier-General Qiliho said.

“It will be very stupid for anyone to try it after what transpired back in 2000. We are working closely with the military and will deal with any issues decisively.”

Shops were looted and public property vandalised as so-called aggressors ran­sacked the capital city during the period of civil unrest in 2000.

The violent uprising was touted as a nationalist push for indigenous politi­cal control, led by businessman George Speight. For his roles in the turmoil, Speight was jailed for life.

FTUC General Secretary Felix Anthony said he did not anticipate any incidents and generally believed the march would be peaceful, like the workers’ rights march in Suva last October.

The Republic of Fiji Military Forces in­tervened in 2000 and suspended the con­stitution, installing an interim Govern­ment with Laisenia Qarase as its head.

Brigadier-General Qiliho confirmed that the military’s assistance had been enlisted for the march as a “strategic re­serve” and would be deployed if the need arose.

“I have great confidence in my officers in the West and their com­mander, Divisional Police Commander (Senior Super­intendent of Police) Abdul Khan,” Brigadier-General Qiliho said.

“I have been briefed and endorsed the concept of operations. I have told him (DPC West) of Police re­serves that will be making preliminary moves that are available should he need as­sistance.

“It is a concept involving a conglomerate of activities involving both overt and covert activities with an injection of technology to assist my men in the west.”

Edited by George Kulamai­wasa

sheldon.chanel@fijisun.com.fj

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