The Guardian May 31, 2000


Fijian Coup Condemned

The Central Committee of the Communist Party of Australia condemns in 
the strongest terms, the illegal seizure of the elected representatives of 
the Fijian people, their detention at the point of the gun for more than a 
week and the tearing up of the democratic Fijian constitution.

The armed coup, led by failed businessman, George Speight, is motivated by 
racism and a contempt for democratic institutions that had been painfully 
re-established following the similarly motivated coup of 1987, led at that 
time by Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka. Speight is demagogically playing on the 
economic problems and insecurity being suffered by many of the people of 
Fiji.

Fiji is a multi-racial and multi-ethnic community and its future progress 
and prosperity depends of the implementation of the principles of multi-
culturalism and racial tolerance and the extension of democratic rights to 
all citizens.

The coup has also been facilitated by the unelected Great Council of Chiefs 
failing to uphold the democratic constitution that they had voted for 
recently.

Any government that is based on racism and the business interests of Fijian 
landed and vested interests cannot serve the interests of Fijian workers 
whether they are indigenous Fijians or of Indian or other national origin.

At this moment, the Fijian people need the urgent support and solidarity of 
all democratic organisations  the trade union and labour movements and 
community organisations.

The coup leaders and the Great Council of Chiefs, who have capitulated in 
the face of thuggery and terrorism, must now feel the full weight of 
international condemnation and isolation.

We call upon the Australian Government to abandon any policy of delay or 
appeasement and:

a. demand that all hostages be released immediately and unharmed;
b. suspend diplomatic relations until the deposed government is fully 
restored;
c. suspend all tourist traffic;
d. suspend all other forms of trade other than aid and medical programs;
e. suspend all military training and supply of military equipment;
f. urgently refer the issue to the Commonwealth of Nations with the 
recommendation that other Commonwealth countries adopt similar policies;
g. support moves by the UN to help restore the elected democratic 
government of Fiji.

We support appropriate action by the Australian trade union and labour 
movements and solidarity from the Australian people to support the Fijian 
Labour Party government led by Mahendra Chaudry which won an overwhelming 
vote in last year's election.

Any failure to act decisively now, to bring an end to the Fijian terrorist 
and bandit coup, will not only result in continued instability in Fiji and 
long-term suffering for the Fijian people, but will encourage similar grabs 
for sectional power in other countries in the region.

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