ROAD BLOCK LIFTED IN FIJI AFTER POLICE INTERVENE

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By Karan Pillay

SUVA, Fiji Islands (September 1, 1998 - Radio Australia)---A group of indigenous landowners in Fiji have lifted their illegal road block to a public cemetery after police intervention.

As Radio Australia correspondent Karan Pillay reports from Suva the landowners have been seeking compensation from the government for use of their land.

"The protesting landowners cut off access to the public cemetery in Lautoka early Monday morning, claiming the government had not paid them for use of their land since 1926. But the road blocks are now gone after police warned them of the consequences.

"The landowners have also given guarantees to police that they will not put up any further road blocks. Their claim is now being reviewed by the Lands Department. The landowners have pledged to take legal action against the government if nothing positive materializes in 30-days.

"It's not clear how much compensation is sought.

"Meanwhile police say they will continue their investigation and take action on those responsible for the road block which was erected just days after a similar blockade at the country's only hydro power station at Monasavu.

"Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka over the weekend cautioned the dissident landowners that they will be punished for any breaches of the law."

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