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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, March 27) – About 500 armed soldiers in full battle gear, led by the military commander, Commodore Bainimarama, marched through the streets of the Fiji capital Suva today as parliament was dissolved in preparation for the May general election.

Radio Legend says Commodore Bainimarama has defended the march, saying it was a show of solidarity from the officers and troops of the military and to keep the soldiers on their toes if they are called into action.

But the commander has also assured the public that there is no cause for concern and the military is there to protect the people in the lead-up to the general election.

He says it the military’s job to be prepared for the hard tasks ahead.

Commodore Bainimarama says the march was also to let the people of Fiji know that the military is always there to look after them.

He says such marches will continue to show togetherness in the family of soldiers, especially after the events related to the May 2000 coup.

But the home affairs minister, Josefa Vosanibola, has expressed concern at the motive behind the march, saying he was not informed by the military and it was the police who notified him.

March 28, 2006

Radio New Zealand International:

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