NEWS

Brawl Strikes Fear At Old Capital, Police Special Response Unit Sent For Back-Up

Three Police officers suffer injuries after they tried to disperse a crowd of 20 men drinking at a public area.
11 Nov 2019 14:09
Brawl Strikes Fear At Old Capital, Police Special Response Unit Sent For Back-Up
Police Special Response Team (SRU) is now in Levuka providing back-up. Photo: Joanne Bole

It was a fearful sight as 20 men clashed with officers from the Fiji Police Force, Fiji Corrections Service and the National Fire Authority in Levuka on Saturday night.

As a result, three Police officers suffered injuries and a team from the Police’s Special Response Unit (SRU) is now in Levuka providing back-up.

Levuka businessman Bhupendra Kumar said it was scary because men from both sides yelled obscenities and fought.

“I was closing my shop on Saturday night when I could hear noises. It looked as if it started from the carrier stand and spilled into the main town area,” he said.

“This is the first of its kind of incident that I have noticed in Levuka. I believe the men were drinking. Now, this is a common occurrence.”

Another Levuka resident, Kevin Hennings, posted on his social media page that it took a good half an hour to get the rowdy crowd into order.

During Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s visit last year, the issue of drinking in public places was raised by concerned residents.

The Saturday incident all started when three Police officers attended to a report of 20 men from Nauouo Village, Vatukalo Village, Toki Village and Waitovu Village drinking along Beach Street in Levuka Town after 7 pm. The officers were chased after they asked the loud and rowdy crowd to disperse.

Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro said the officers called for backup and more Police officers were deployed, which also included officers from the National Fire Authority and Fiji Corrections Service.

“The second attempt made to clear the area resulted in three of the officers sustaining injuries and three suspects arrested and taken into custody.”

Acting Commissioner Rusiate Tudravu also joined the team in Levuka, intending to speak to the village elders.

“Instead of working together there are a few members of the community who have little to no respect for authority, which is why the issue of drinking in public places is a recurring problem in the old capital,” Mr Ttudravu said.

“Government officials, including Police officers, are making personal sacrifices and one can argue that it’s their job, but they do so with passion and dedication to their calling.”

Mr Tudravu said Police would not take these attacks lightly, irrespective of whether it took place at a remote community post or a maritime island.

He said they would also deploy officers to back-up those who were working hard to keep communities safe.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

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