Leader of Opposition Hon. Matthew Wale, has confirmed he received a copy of a petition addressed to the Hon. Prime Minister, by Honiara-based Malaitans, containing 8,210 signatures.
The petition makes eight requests.
Hon. Wale stressed that it is important our people are allowed to freely and openly express their views, adding that the government must not stifle this free expression of views.
Further, Hon. Wale calls on the RSIPF and the Honiara City Council to facilitate the petitioners’ application for a permit to stage a peaceful protest.
“It is important that our people’s right to peaceful protest is not unjustifiably and unreasonably suppressed. RSIPF must not intimidate our people, and talk of arrests are intimidating,” said Hon. Wale.
The Opposition Leader said he is however distressed by recent media reports of an armed group with political grievances, and further stressed that if government, RSIPF and the City Council continue to suppress the people’s right to peaceful protest, it can force them to consider options that are neither legal nor peaceful.
“In our recent history, we have seen that when our people perceive that all legal and democratic processes are used against them, they have opted to taking matters in their own hands. We do not want to see a repeat of those,” Hon. Wale added.
Furthermore, Hon. Wale calls on the organisers of the petition, in the event that they are issued a permit to stage a protest march, to ensure that such a march is peaceful, orderly and respectful.