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Trade Union Leader Threatened

SUVA: Four men claiming to be from Fiji's nationalist Taukei Movement threatened the life of trade union leader Felix Anthony and locked him in his office for an hour during yesterday's national day of peace and democracy, the Fiji Sun reports.

Anthony, general secretary of the Fiji Trades Union Congress, was roughed up and threatened in the presence of some policemen, and an hour later the People's Coalition Lautoka office manager was also threatened.

The group of Taukei members, police officers and soldiers reportedly entered the coalition office and threatened manager Subash Verma forcing him to close the office.

Anthony told the newspaper that at least four men, who said they were from the Taukei Movement, pushed him around and locked him up in his Lautoka office for an hour. He was not injured.

He said the men threatened his life and warned that he would be harmed if he continued his calls for restoration of democracy and law and order in the country.

"They asked me to cease my campaign for the national day of peace and democracy. They also told me not to say anything against the President and the members of the interim government," Anthony said.

Anthony added that police intervened an hour later and took him to the police station for questioning.

The military and police later denied that police and military officers had accompanied the people who made the threats.

The Daily Post reports that two police officers were "inhumanely tortured" by supporters of rebel leader George Speight in Korovou, Tailevu, during the parliamentary siege after rebels seized the town from police and the military on July 8.

"The policemen were stripped naked, made to lie on the cement floor and had iced-water mixed with refuse thrown at them for about four continuous days and nights at the Korovou Police Station cell block," the paper said.

"Both policemen were hunted down like animals on July 10 before they were led to their work place, which ironically turned out to be their prison."

The Daily Post and both other national daily newspapers also reported serious injuries to nationalist leader Iliesa Duvuloco, who was a key supporter of Speight.

"Staunch Speight supporter Duvuloco is nursing broken ribs as a result of his resisting arrest by soldiers in Korovou on Tuesday," the Daily Post said.

"The firebrand nationalist, who is admitted at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva, is expected to join his rebel partners on Nukulau Island soon."

Hospital superintendent Dr Salimoni Tuqa said Duvuloco suffered fractured ribs but was in a stable condition.

Duvuloco was one of seven people on the military "wanted" list after the rebels left the parliamentary complex on July 19 and camped at Kalabu school.

Two other men on the list were also arrested on Tuesday. George's brother "Commander Jimmy" Speight and Varinava Tiko were also expected to be taken to Nukulau Island.

+++niuswire

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