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Fiji's first day frustrated

Regime, media, big business frustrate Fiji First Day

Date sent: Mon, 19 Feb 2001 09:45:06 +1200

PEOPLE'S COALITION GOVERNMENT, FIJI Issue No: 494 19 February 2001

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Regime, military, police, media, big business try frustrating Fiji First day

In an expected combination of forces, the Qarase regime, the military, the police, the media, and the nation's big businesses attempted to frustrate the Fiji First day today.

Fiji Employers Federation, which comprises the nation's largest businesses, have called on their workers to turn up to work today. Some members of the FEF have warned their employees of redundancies if they stay home today.

The regime's Public Service Commission has also warned civil servants that they will be severely dealt with if they stay home today and pray for an early return of democracy in the country. Retailers, who are led by Speight supporter and ethnic Indian Himmat Lodhia, also say that they will open up for business today. Lodhia belongs to the Gujarati community which has always supported regimes which allow corruption and tax-evasion to flourish in the country.

During the last many days, the military and the police have also told the Chamber of Commerces and town and city councils to open up for business today. Numerous city councillors have stated that they have been intimidated by the military and are worried about the military's partisan stand in this matter. One councillor also stated that they have received word that if they close up today, their council will be sacked by the regime. Another councillor stated: "They say there is democracy in Fiji, but when we want to exercise our freedom to stay home and pray, they say we cant do this. What kind of democracy is this?".

Two prominent media outlets have also actively supported the regime. The Fiji Times ran editorials yesterday and today asking people to defy the Fiji First Movement's call. Fiji TV, the nation's only TV station, also allowed 30 minutes of its prime time last evening to the Police and regime officials to condemn the Fiji First's call.

Today's Fiji Sun, however, has given a balanced editorial, but has stated that Fiji lacks the "freedom from fear".

The regime and its supporters, which comprise racists, ethnic supremacists, tax evaders, and the corrupt, have ruled Fiji for the past 6 months on the foundation of fear.


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