Fiji Times

SUVA, Fiji (March 23, 2009) – Fiji is no longer a democracy when it is a crime to speak out against those who hold power.

In the last three weeks, there have been calculated attacks on people who have views which are contrary to those of the regime.

Masked men in unmarked vehicles have attacked the homes of trade unionists, politicians and journalists who are perceived to be enemies of the state.

Police officers have conducted raids on media organisations in connection with a letter which they claim is the personal property of the interim prime minister.

Although it has been proven that the correspondence was sent to several parties, the attacks continue.

Not one law enforcement agency has made a move to stop the attackers or provide security for those attacked in recent weeks.

Yet when the interim Attorney-General's home was robbed last year, the police moved an elite unit to guard his gate. The officers have never left the area.

Where is the police commissioner who berates his officers for non-performance?

Is this not time for him to speak up about the need for added patrols and an end to mob violence?

No member of the interim Cabinet, guarded day and night by the security forces, has lifted a finger or uttered a word about the attacks.

Nor has the Fiji Human Rights Commission spoken out about the need to respect alternate views.

Yet the same has been swift to criticise those who would dare speak out against the regime's plans to legislate newspapers and broadcasters.

The army - which last week claimed to be the last bastion of law and order - has remained silent.

The source of the attacks has become blatantly obvious.

Even people in the street know who has orchestrated the attacks and why the interim regime has not spoken out.

The common people understand completely the reasons behind the thuggery, why particular targets have been chosen and why the police cannot protect the victims.

In 1987, the nation watched in disbelief as the homes and cars of Labour Party politicians and trade union affiliates were attacked after the army overthrew the government.

For a political entity which knows firsthand about such atrocities, Labour is deafeningly silent.

All those who have thus far remained silent on the attacks have shown their true colours and brought shame to the organisations they represent.

Any calls they make about truth, law, order, pluralism, democracy and tolerance are hypocritical.

They are no better than the masked cowards who travel by night and stone the property of innocent families.

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