Dec 05

First Thailand, almost the Philippines and now Fiji. It seems that in Asia, coups are becoming more common in recent times again. So far it looks, like it could be a bloodless coup in Fuji as well. But one really has to worry, on what’s going on in the heads of those militarists. It can’t be good for a country’s reputation, economy and tourism to stage a coup at all against democratically elected governments. Whenever someone hates the government, you cannot just take it over. Read on for today’s latest developments:

Fiji’s military commander has seized control of the country, marking the fourth coup in two decades. Commodore Frank Bainimarama said in a televised address he had assumed executive powers and dismissed Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase.

Fiji MapCmdr Bainimarama accused the prime minister of corruption and leading Fiji on a path of doom. Mr Qarase, who said he would now retire from politics, accused the military of bringing “shame to the country”. He said Cmdr Bainimarama was feeding the country lies about his government. “What the military has done is raped our constitution,” Mr Qarase said. “They have brought shame to the country… and all right-thinking people should stand up and fight for our democracy – by peaceful means of course,” he said. “Fiji has now become a laughing stock in the international arena.”

Fiji’s largest daily newspaper, the Fiji Times, says it has suspended publication after refusing to accept censorship. Cmdr Bainimarama had repeatedly threatened to unseat Mr Qarase, expressing anger at the prime minister’s proposed legislation to offer an amnesty to those responsible for a 2000 coup which Cmdr Bainimarama helped put down. Cmdr Bainimarama warned that more troops would be seen on the streets but said there was no curfew and he urged the population not to be intimidated.

He said Fiji had reached a “crossroads” and that the government had been “unable to make decisions to save our people from destruction”. “I urge all citizens to remain calm, and maintain the peace that currently prevails,” he said.

Cmdr Bainimarama named a doctor, Jona Senilagakali, as caretaker prime minister and said he would next week ask the Great Council of Chiefs to restore executive powers to President Ratu Josefa Iloilo.

The president would then appoint an interim government and elections would follow at an unspecified date, the military chief said.

Cmdr Bainimarama said the prime minister had created tension in the army by trying to have him removed. Acting commissioner of the largely unarmed police force, Moses Driver, condemned the takeover.

“The military has now indulged in a very serious criminal act and… we are not going to support the military,” he said.

New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark also condemned Mr Bainimarama, saying he had “taken leave of his senses and the power has certainly gone to his head”. Britain said it had suspended military assistance to Fiji and was “considering further measures with our international and Commonwealth partners”.

Troop request

Fiji's Capital SuvaFiji has a population of only 900,000 but is a major tourist destination and attracts up to 400,000 visitors a year. It has also witnessed considerable political tension over the past 20 years between ethnic Fijians, who make up about 50% of the population and ethnic Indians at around 44%. The military takeover will add to the concerns of Australia and New Zealand about political instability in the wider Pacific islands region.

Australia, Britain and New Zealand had advised their citizens to stay away and warned of dire social, economic and diplomatic consequences if the military completed its coup.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard earlier said he had turned down a request from Mr Qarase to send troops to prevent a coup. “The possibility of Australia and Fijian troops firing on each other in the streets of Suva was not a prospect that I for a moment thought desirable,” Mr Howard said.

Source: news agencies around the world

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written by Chris

4 Responses to “Fiji military chief stages coup – Travel warning!”

  1. David StanleyNo Gravatar CANADA Says:

    A travel warning for who? For travelers? No need, as Fiji is calm and as safe for travelers. As usual, the government-issued travel advisories on Fiji are inaccurate, alarmist, and just plain wrong. Governments routinely use their own citizens as pawns in their political games, and this case is no different. To get a more accurate sense of what’s happening in Fiji, I highly recommend that you watch the Fiji television news on your computer, which you can easily do for free here:

  2. fiji suxNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    it might happen to so with the fact that Asia is a craphole. I live here simply because its such a craphole.

  3. Eliz SweenyNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    There are some places that are very dangerous that is why the military chief had made their part to protect different travelers.

  4. DanielleNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    Well, David is correct. It’s an overacting act. Fiji is lesser dangerous compare to other countries. I’ll be visiting my friends there soon. I’m not alarmed at all.

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