FIJI’S ADI KUINI THREATENS CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE January 5, 2001

FIJI’S ADI KUINI THREATENS CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE

SUVA, Fiji Islands (January 6, 2001 - The Fiji Times/The Fiji Sun/PINA Nius Online)---One of Fiji's deposed deputy prime ministers is threatening to organize widespread civil disobedience if a ruling by the Court of Appeal is not honored.

But the Fiji Military Forces have warned that they would come down hard on anyone attempting to disturb national peace

Adi Kuini Speed, one of two deputy prime ministers in the ousted coalition government of Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry, said she would personally organize the protest. It would be to show that lawlessness and illegal government could not be condoned, she said.

She said the protest would include sit-downs to destabilize the economy.

Adi Kuini was referring to an upcoming court of appeal decision on an appeal by the country's interim administration. It is against a ruling by a high court judge that the 1997 constitution is still valid and the president should reconvene Parliament.

In reaction to Adi Kuini's comments, Fiji Military Forces spokesperson Lieutenant Ilaisa Tagitupou said parties threatening civil unrest "lacked goodwill and respect for law."

He said Adi Kuini's statements do not help public safety, which the military is striving to uphold. He said the military would come down hard on anyone attempting to disturb national peace.

"Both the interim administration and the People's Coalition are optimistic about the appeal but we should be mindful of the likely scenario that might eventuate from these protests," he said. "More common sense should be used in such cases."

The interim government is backed by the country's Great Council of Chiefs and the Fiji Military Forces. It was formed in the wake of the military's declaration of martial law to halt growing unrest and violence following the May 19 coup against the Chaudhry government by indigenous Fijian gunmen led by George Speight. The Speight group took the Chaudhry government hostage.

Adi Kuini said the interim administration depended on the Great Council of Chiefs, which she claimed had only a few chiefs. She claimed the bulk of the council was made up of politicians who lost control of the government during last year's elections.

Adi Kuini led the Fijian Association Party, one of the members of the deposed Fiji Labour Party-led People's Coalition Government. But her leadership and continuing support for Chaudhry was strongly challenged and the party split.

She was in Australia receiving medical treatment when the coup took place.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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