Fijian expatriates rally against military regime

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About 50 people are protesting outside the Fijian High Commission in Australia’s capital Canberra over what they claim are deteriorating human rights in the country.

Members of the Australian-based Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement have handed a letter of disapproval to the High Commission and will protest outside Parliament House.

They are calling for reinstatement of the Great Council of Chiefs, a representative body of 14 provinces in Fiji.

The organisation’s president Suliasi Daunitutu told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat the protest by expatriates expresses the concerns of many Fijians.

“All the news filtering through…and people that we talk to via emails have voiced their concerns about everything that’s happening in Fiji but because of all the decrees that are in place in Fiji it’s very hard for them to voice their concerns,” he said.

“So it’s up to the people living overseas, the diaspora, to be the voice for them.”

The protesters are wearing black to mark what they call Black Tuesday, when Frank Bainimarama abolished the democratic constitution on this day three years ago.

Similar protests are being held by the movement in New Zealand and the United States.