At a press conference around 9.50pm NZT today in Suva the chief of Fiji’s armed forces Frank Bainimarama announced that he is assuming governmental power under a decree of Martial Law. He said the President of Fiji Ratu Mara had been dismissed from office.
He was reported on CNN has having said he was doing so to restore law and order. Unconfirmed reports said that after order was restored he would then reinstate civilian rule. Removal of the President from office has been one of the key aims of the hostage takers.
At around 6pm to a 48 hour curfew for Suva was called and troops took up strategic positions around Parliament.
The website which had been broadcasting running coverage of the crisis Fijilive.com stopped broadcasting at 5.30pm saying the curfew made it impossible for the website to continue to be maintained and that updates would be posted whenever possible. The last update was posted at 5.30pm reporting that the gunmen said they took no responsibility for last nights shooting of a policeman. This report has since been deleted from the site it appears.
Today, after rumours that the mob that attacked Fiji TV last night and shot a police officer intended marching again – this time against foreign journalists, most international media left Suva. Around 4.30pm George Speight’s group announced that the planned march for today had been cancelled.
According to reports Fiji Radio and TV has stopped broadcasting news bulletins.
There is no reaction yet from the gunmen holding 33 hostages at Parliament to the latest developments.