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Military Coup in Fiji


Fiji's military chief says the army has seized power from the government of Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama announced the takeover at a news conference Tuesday in Suva, confirming the island nation's fourth coup in the past 20 years.

Fijian troops surrounded Mr. Qarase's house and government buildings, and set up roadblocks in parts of the capital.

Mr. Qarase was first named prime minister by the military after a coup in 2000, and his party has since won two elections.

He condemned Tuesday's coup as illegal, and accused Bainimarama of "raping" the country's constitution.

Commander Bainimarama says he took the action to end a political stalemate in Fiji.

He has accused Mr. Qarase of being corrupt and too soft on the organizers of a coup six years ago.

The Fijian army chief called for people to remain calm and continue business as usual, saying there will not be a curfew.

He promised to return power eventually to an interim government, leading to elections and restored democracy.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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