Fiji troops disarm police amid coup fears
Troops in Fiji seized the weapons of the island nation's only armed police unit amid soaring tensions over a threatened military coup.Updated: Dec 04, 2006 12:11 IST
Troops in Fiji on Monday seized the weapons of the island nation's only armed police unit amid soaring tensions over a threatened military coup.
The troops could be seen loading weapons onto army vehicles at the offices of the police tactical response unit outside Suva, some three hours after they arrived asking to inspect the arms.
There was no apparent opposition from the police.
Fiji's military chief Voreqe Bainimarama has vowed to force Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase from power in a "peaceful transition" if he did not resign of his own accord. It would be the Pacific nation's fourth coup in two decades.
Bainimarama set a deadline of midday Friday for the government to bow to a set of demands, which include scrapping controversial legislation and ending a police investigation into possible sedition charges against him.
He reiterated in a television interview Sunday that if Qarase did not want to resign, "we will look for ways to obtain his resignation."
Among the military's demands were for the police tactical response unit to be disbanded on the grounds that only the armed forces should carry arms.
The unit, based on the outskirts of the capital, was set up mainly for the protection of local and visiting political leaders.
First Published: Dec 04, 2006 12:11 IST