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FIJI: Fijian protesters demand PM quits

SUVA: About 5000 Fijians marched through Suva yesterday, calling for Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry to step down and [be] replaced by a Fijian leader, the Fiji Sun reports.

They also called for the dissolution of the Constitution and the formulation of a new one which would give Fijians ascendancy over the other races.

"We are prepared to die!" was one of the many calls made and heard during yesterday's Taukei march organised by the Soqosoqo ni Vakavulewa ni Taukei which brought together a united crowd reminiscent of the Taukei Movement march preceding the 1987 coup.

The crowd agreed that the Mahendra Chaudhry-led government should be dissolved by the President, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara.

A petition, containing several concerns against the government, was presented to the Great Council of Chiefs after the march.

The petition highlighted the following:

* Government's "act of disrespect" to the GCC.

* Cabinet's "move to usurp land" from landowners through new laws,

* "Unfair distribution of money" to Fijians and Indians.

* Removal of Fijians from top civil service posts.

* Government moves to "weaken the power of the President and increase the power of the cabinet".

The petition made specific requests to the GCC to work out a way of removing the Labour-led government from power.

"We ask the GCC to remember us and we ask the council to use its chiefly and wise decision in removing this government," the petition read in Fijian.

Members of Parliament and senators admitted during yesterday's march that government must go or be prepared to face the consequences.


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