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Hundreds Of Speight Supporters Gather In Complex


23 May 2000: 5.30pm
By Priestley Habru

SUVA: About 600 people flooded the Parliament complex this afternoon as rebel government leader George Speight claimed he was not anti-Indian.

"Am not anti-Indian but I am anti them presiding over the determination of our future," he said.

That is why he carried out the attempted coup.

"It is not that I don't like [captive Prime Minister Mahendra] Chaudhry but I believe he does not have the right to preside over my affairs for my future, because I believe we are capable of doing it ourselves," he said.

Four leaders of indigenous Fijian groups, including Taukei Movement leader Apisai Tora, addressed the crowd in Fijian this afternoon.

The leaders denounced the Chaudhry government, saying it was not in the interests of indigenous Fijians.
People showed their appreciation by giving three cheers and an overwhelming applaud after Tora concluded his speech.

A group of people were singing hymns and some were seen cooking food while the rest either mingled around or were sitting relaxed as Speight's gunmen kept watch on people moving into the restricted areas of the main office.

He saw the people today as part of his "army".

"They are part of me and I am part of them and we are on a crusade about our future and we will not retreat," he said.

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