CAPTION: Shamima Ali, Coordinator of FWCC. File Photo.
This morning the FWCC Branches in Nadi, Ba and Labasa received notices that the permits for their marches to commemorate International Women’s Day were being withdrawn. With no clear reason or written directive, all the marches have been called off by the Police.
“As of yesterday, we were aware that the Reclaim the Night march planned for Suva had been cancelled and the ones that were planned for Nadi, Tavua and Labasa were going ahead. Now, our Branches have been informed that their marches have been cancelled as well and no clear reasons are being given,” said Shamima Ali, Coordinator of FWCC.
The FWCC says that the decision to cancel the marches is a missed opportunity. “What the authorities don’t seem to understand is that the community want to show their public support of efforts to eliminate sexual assault against women and girls and when they start to deny these opportunities, they kill the interest. So, how can we move towards a society that is less tolerant of rape and sexual assault when the powers that be continue to suppress the views of the people
around this matter.”
However, the FWCC says it will not be deterred and have organised alternative activities. ” We are encouraging people to come and have discussions in our offices throughout the country today and we have also organised candlelight vigils so that people can gather and have discussions around the issue. The candlelight vigils will be held at FWCC offices in Suva (88 Gordon Street), Nadi (84 Sagayam Road, Nadi town) and Labasa (Siberia Road).