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Australians told to leave Fiji
AUSTRALIANS in Suva are being warned to leave the Fijian capital where troops appear set to arrest the prime minister.
And the Department of Foreign Affairs is urging Australians to reconsider any plans to travel to the Pacific nation saying its security could deteriorate without warning.
The department says any Australians who remain in Suva should avoid all government buildings .. military installations and concentrations of military personnel and keep their movements around the city to a minimum.
Police bodyguards who drove Mr Qarase's vehicle handed over their weapons to soldiers at the checkpoint.
Military commander Commodore Frank Bainimarama later said the bodyguards' weapons had been returned.
Mr Driti said Mr Qarase's flight home was unnecessary.
"The PM does not deserve a bullet, let alone be apprehended,'' he told the Fiji Sun newspaper.
"We only wanted to disarm his bodyguards as part of the clean-up campaign.''
The campaign is Commodore Bainimarama's term for forcing the government to meet a list of military's demands.
Australians told to leave Fiji
Australia refuses to send military
Fiji's embattled Prime Minister appealed to Australia for military help to stave off a military coup but Australia refused, John Howard says.
Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase called Mr Howard as the Fiji leader remained holed up in his Suva residence while troops, led by renegade military commander Commodore Frank Bainimarama, took control of the city.
"I should inform you that this morning the prime minister of Fiji rang me and asked for Australian military intervention in response to the coup," Mr Howard told reporters.
"I indicated to him that that would not be possible.
"We have previously communicated our position in that.
"I did not think it was in Australia's interest to become involved."
For Fiji Ever Fiji, Considering the Prime Minister refuses to remove the 9 government ministers who took part in the 2000 coup, and the fact that he is going to set up a committee to look at the bills, as opposed to removing them, i can't see how all the commanders demands were met. I have been reading a lot of comments in various sites about the Commodore and one thing comes to mind, where were these people during the 2000 coup? They were no where to be seen. Where were the calls of democracy then? Where were the Australian and NZ governments then? Corruption is rife within the government. One only needs to look at the agricultural scam to see this. Its about time the government was given a shake up. Lets look at the government. If i were to take the Fijian government and put it in place in Australia, it would be like having the Liberals and Labor in a single "mulit" party with an opposition of the Greens. Thats right, Fiji has an opposition of 2 ministers. How is this democracy? And when a member of the Labor party in Fiji (of which there are 10 in the cabinet) chooses to vote against the government, he is threatened with dismissal. Where is the democracy in that? I am in Nadi and the feeling on the street is that the Commodore is in the right. He is bringing on a change that is much needed. Fiji needs a new government and a true democracy. Thailand faced a coup a few months back to remove corruption within the government and it has worked. To all visitors to Fiji, please don't stop coming. The weather is great as are the resorts and there is no worries in regards to safety. In the West, its business as usual.
Posted by: Villiame of Nadi, Fiji Islands 10:32am today