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Fiji Military steps up security

Fiji Military steps up security

12 February 2001

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Military Steps Up Security

SUVA (Pasifik Nius): The Fiji military has stepped up its operations in
the western part of the main Viti Levu island as the country awaits the
Court of Appeals decision on Justice Anthony Gates' ruling on the 1997
constitution, the Fiji Times reports.

Army commander western Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Manulevu said the
military was monitoring the situation on the February 19 ruling and
ready to act on any insurrection.

"There will be a lot of snap checkpoints and roadblocks, which we
started on Sunday night," he said yesterday.

Lt-Col Manulevu said the military would not take any chance when it came
to maintaining law and order.

He said the army was aware of rumours that there would be disturbances
when the hearing starts on Monday.

While delivering his judgement late last year on a case filed by refugee
Chandrika Prasad, Justice Gates had ruled that the 1997 constitution was
still in place.

However, the interim government appealed against Justice Gates' ruling.

The entire nation and foreign countries are anxiously awaiting the
outcome of the Appeals Court's decision on whether the 1997 constitution
remains or not.

The military said it would not take rumours of violence lightly.

"A lot of people have the misconception that the axe will fall on Monday
but that is not true.

"In fact, the hearing starts on Monday and a decision on the matter may
take days, weeks, or even months, as it depends on the court," said
Lt-Col Manulevu.

In an editorial, the Daily Post said: "If there is a time that the
people of Fiji need to remain calm, it is now. If there is a time that
the people of Fiji need to be united, it is now.

"The outcome of this case will in fact decide the future direction of
this beloved country of ours. That is why it is in the interests of all
the parties and all the people of Fiji to remain calm and let the
judicial system take its own course."



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