A planned meeting this morning by Mahendra Chaudhry, the leader of the Labour Party and general secretary of the National Farmers Union, was called off by the police before it started.
The meeting was due to be held at Tilak High School in Lautoka but had to be stopped after a directive from the interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama.
The National Farmers Union had obtained a permit from the authorities for the meeting but the police went to the venue before 9am today and told Chaudhry they wanted to listen in on the meeting.
Chaudhry is believed to have told police he had a permit for the meeting and had submitted the agenda to authorities well in advance.
He reiterated the meeting would discuss issues affecting just the sugar industry.
These would be issues like fertilizer price increase, industry reforms and a road levy of $75 per tonne for heavy goods vehicles that would have implications for cane lorry operators and farmers and mill performance.
He said these were common issues affecting farmers and that the police would be wasting their time in listening to the meeting.
The officers informed their headquarters in Suva when Chaudhry rejected repeated requests from police to be part of the meeting.
Soon afterwards, a directive to stop the meeting arrived from the interim PM's office.
Sources say police warned Chaudhry and another senior NFU official not to make any statements, or they would be detained.
At least 150 farmers had already arrived for the meeting but were told that the meeting would be delayed because farmers from Tavua and Rakiraki had still not arrived.
Sources say Chaudhry then left the meeting venue while others plus the farmers stayed on.
He then went to the Sugar Cane Growers Council office with SCGC Chairman, Jain Kumar, and later returned to Suva.