ARMED MEN TAKE OVER FIJI PARLIAMENT

SUVA, Fiji Islands (May 18, 2000 – Radio Australia)---The Fiji Parliament has been taken over by a group of armed men.

Radio Australia Pacific correspondent Kevin McQuillan reports.

"Radio Fiji reports that just over two hours ago, seven armed men burst into the parliament in Suva, locking Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry, other Cabinet ministers and Members of Parliament in the upstairs chambers.

The men were dressed in plain clothes, armed with rifles.

Shots were fired in the Parliament and the gates to Parliament have been closed.

"The drama comes as the Indian-dominated government of Mahendra Chaudhry celebrates one year in office.

"Also today, opposition parties had planned their third anti-government march, in a bid to try and force Mr. Chaudhry from office.

"Last night, police foiled an attempt to burn down the Grit Centre, a memorial to the first indentured laborers brought to Fiji, in the western city of Lautoka.

"Kevin McQuillan, Radio Australia, Suva."

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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