6, 2006: The commander of the armed forces appointed a new prime minister and
police chief. Fijis neighbors, especially Australia and New Zealand, condemned
the coup. The U.S. cut off military aid. Although the richest island
economy in the central Pacific, Fiji is heavily dependent on tourism, which
could be hurt if there is continued political unrest.
coup in Fiji is the fourth in 19 years, and led by radicals among the native
Fijians, who wish to prevent Indo Fijians from dominating the government, the
way they have come to dominate the economy. Fiji is a small place, several
islands in the Pacific, with a population of some 900,000, and armed forces of
about 3,500 troops. Fiji has been independent since 1970, and had been a
British colony since 1874 (when an endless series of civil wars led to British
"peacekeepers" being called in.) Today, some 20-30 percent of Fijian
troops are off on peacekeeping duty at any given time. Fijian soldiers are in
great demand as peacekeepers, because they are well trained, disciplined and
don't back down when threatened. The armed forces are staffed largely by native
Fijians, as is the government in general. The better educated Indo-Fijians
dominate in the commercial sector. Although more affluent, the Indo-Fijian
population has been shrinking for the last few decades, because of fewer
births, and migration (for better economic opportunities, or to get away from
the unrest). Until the 1980s, the Indo-Fijians were actually a majority, much
to the chagrin of the native Fijians. The three previous coups were all about
insuring that native Fijians ran the government. The native Fijians were also
resentful of Indo-Fijians controlling the economy. There is even a religious
angle, as nearly all Indo-Fijians are Hindu, while most native Fijians are
Christian. What is happening in Fiji is not unique to Fiji. The ethnic tension
struggle is being played out in dozens of countries, and is the primary cause
of war throughout the world, and throughout history.
5, 2006: The military coup finally happened. The army swarmed through the
capital, occupying government buildings and erecting check points. The army is
dominated by native Fijian radicals who had demanded that the government pass
laws that guarantees that native Fijians would always control the government.
The elected prime minister saw that as un-democratic and refused. Most
Fijians appear to back the elected, and now ousted, prime minister.
1, 2006: In Fiji, the prime minister, and senior members of the government,
went into hiding, as the deadline for meeting army commands passed without any
army action. But the army commander still maintained his intention to take over
if the government did not follow his orders.