ARMED men took over Fiji's parliament in Suva early this morning, locking Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry and other cabinet ministers in upstairs...
ARMED men took over Fiji's parliament in Suva early this morning, locking Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry and other cabinet ministers in upstairs chambers.
Australian radio reported that shots were apparently fired inside the building after seven men, wearing civilian clothes, reportedly entered parliament at about 10am.
Today is the first anniversary of the election of Chaudhry's Indian-dominated government, which has been accused of exacerbating racial divisions in the South Pacific nation where a military coup toppled an Indian government in May 1987.
It was not immediately clear whether today's move constituted another full-blown coup.
Fijian media had reported that thousands of people were expected to march on parliament today to demand the removal of Chauhdry's government.
``At this stage we can't say anything because we haven't heard anything from Fiji,'' a spokeswoman from the Fiji High Commission in Canberra said.
All telephone lines to Fiji appeared to be cut.
After one year in power, Chaudhry, the first Fijian prime minister of Indian descent, has been facing a growing list of political problems.
Chaudhry's ``rainbow coalition'' won power after an electoral battle with then Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka, who led the 1987 coup against the political dominance of Fiji's large ethnic Indian minority.
Indians make up 43pc of the 770,000 population.