Fiji police seize political leaders

MICHAEL FIELD
Last updated 13:44 06/09/2013
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Protesters from Youth for Demcoracy and the Fiji Women's Rights Movement are taken into custody by police for demonstrating.

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Police move in to arrest the demonstrators, including former prime minister Mahendra Chaudhry (in light-coloured shirt) and Tupeni Baba (by the door, holding up a petition).

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Fiji police have arrested about a dozen people, including leaders of the country's new political parties, for trying to stage a demonstration against the country's new constitution.

Former prime minister Mahendra Chaudhry and leaders Tupeni Baba and Mick Beddoes were taken into custody, as well as about nine others.

The Fiji Women's Rights Movement says the group was arrested by the police outside the president's residence around 11:15 am and released around 1:30am.

"They were part of a group of citizens silently protesting against the Constitution, which the Fiji President is due to sign this morning. After refusing to put down protest banners, they were taken into custody and transported to Toorak."

 

Fiji is run by a military regime since Commodore Frank Bainimarama overthrew a democratic government in 2006.

This afternoon the military-appointed president and former military commander Epeli Nailatikau will sign an assent to a new constitution drawn up by Bainimarama, the country's fourth constitution since independence in 1970.

Fiji's military has outlawed all political protest.

The political parties were allowed to be formed this year ahead of democracy-restoring elections in 2014.

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- Fairfax Media

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