Douglas Bagnall on Tue, 23 May 2000 16:29:29 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> links regarding the Fiji coup.

In case you haven't heard, the Fijian Labour government is being held
hostage in the parliament buildings after a weak and unimaginative coup

If successful, this will be the second time a Labour Government has been
overthrown by threat. The bloodless 1987 coup resulted in a number of
constitutional changes, international condemnation, economic trouble, and
massive emigration, but things reverted gradually towards the pre-coup
state, until last year another Labour Government was elected under a
constitution not so disimilar from the original one. 

Fijian politics are vulgarly explained in terms of conflict between the
(equally numbered) indigenous Fijians and decendants of Indian plantation
workers, but Teresia Teaiwa explains that things are not that simple:

It's worth noting that 11/18th of the cabinet are indigenous Fijian, so
claims of Indian domination are specious.

At the beginning of Fiji's colonial history a British governor banned the
alienation of indigenous land, and this edict has gathered such a sacred
force that the constitution bans any modifcation of any land laws,
including laws of tenancy. Nevertheless, it is the standard claim of coup
leaders that the government is scheming to Indianise land ownership. I
guess this is the most efficacious way to unite the Indigenous population. 

Fiji History:

A long article regarding the 1987 coups:


The Fijian sources are up to date and relatively independant. Nobody has
been seriously hurt in a Fiji coup, so fear of death is probably not
influencing journalists. The TV station has been ordered (by the
president, not captured) not to show messages from the coup leader.

randomly broken at times, occasionally reverting to days-old versions. 
has realaudio of president Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara's speeches. And a
discussion board.

mirrored on, 

login as 'douglas' if you want: it doesn't seem to ask for a password. 
fijilive has all kinds of background stuff, the 1997 contstitution (which
explains the importance of the council of chiefs), a list of hostages
<>, and the ubiquitous
discussion board (funnily enough, they are threatening to shut it down if
people use bad language). 

Government press release --


ie: an armed coup is a normal political process.

The usual Australian and NZ news sites also have coverage --


-- with relatively more focus on the jail term the coup leader, George
Speight, avoided by hijacking his government when he ought to have been in
a Sydney Court facing fraud charges.

At this very moment the fate of the country is being discussed by the
Great Council of Chiefs, who have the constituional power to sack and
appoint presidents. Whether or not this is a effective power, and what
they decide, will soon be discovered. Watch or to find out. 


"Ladies and gentlemen, this is a military takeover. We apologise for
any inconvenience..." -- Fiji Army Captain Isireli Dugu, May 14, 1987.

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