Police have denied the application by students of the University of the South Pacific to march in solidarity with Palestine.
This was highlighted by the Minister for Home Affairs Pio Tikoduadua at a press conference, stating that the police have made their assessments, looking at risks, considering the potential for communal discord.
He says Hamas, is a terrorist group, and is not an internationally recognised representative of the Palestinian people—most of whom simply want to live in peace and prosperity.
Tikoduadua says the voices and concerns of the people are valid and acknowledged and it is essential to recognise the pain and suffering of all individuals involved in any conflict, including the ongoing strife in Israel and Palestine.
He adds granting this march means they would also be setting a precedent.
He also adds that if they allow this procession, they must, in fairness, grant permission to pro-Israeli groups who may wish to express their perspectives and grievances.
The Minister says this could lead to multiple marches, each with its own set of challenges, potentially escalating tensions within our community.
Tikoduadua says his primary concern remains the safety and well-being of our community while he understands and respects the people's right to voice their concerns and stand in solidarity.
He says it is important that we remain united as a nation while also acknowledging the suffering faced by those in Israel and Palestine.
The Minister adds that as he re-lives his haunting and traumatic experience in Lebanon, where the scars of conflict were so brutally visible, he is reminded of their collective responsibility to ensure the safety of all Fijians.
He implores citizens to understand that their decision isn't a stand against the people's cause but a plea for safety, unity, and understanding and most importantly — peace.
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