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Two months of tension in Fiji: A chronology

Here is a timeline showing the build-up to Pacific country's fourth coup in 20 years.

india Updated: Dec 05, 2006 13:19 IST

Fiji's Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase said he was under house arrest on Tuesday, with military surrounding his residence in the capital Suva, but vowed not to resign.

Here is a timeline showing the build-up to Pacific country's fourth coup in 20 years:

Oct 17, 2006: Defiant military chief Frank Bainimarama gives Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase a three-week ultimatum to drop two controversial bills or be forced from office.

Oct 31: President Ratu Josefa Iloilo summons a senior army officer and asks him to replace Bainimarama, who is away visiting Fijian troops in the Middle East, but the request is declined.

Nov 1: Bainimarama says he will remove the prime minister on his return to Fiji. Troops seize tonnes of ammunition. Australia puts two warships on standby to evacuate its citizens.

Nov 5: Fiji's military accuses Australia of breaching its sovereignty, after it sends an unspecified number of police to protect its embassy in Suva. Australia says the police were sent because of fears of a violent coup.

Nov 24: Bainimarama on a visit to New Zealand warns South Pacific neighbours to back off and stay out of Fiji's business, after Australia's Downer suggests regional governments help resolve the impasse.

Nov 27: Both Australia and New Zealand warn citizens not to travel to Fiji, as small groups of armed police patrol the capital Suva.

Nov 29: Qarase and Bainimarama hold crisis talks in the New Zealand capital, Wellington, amid fears that a coup would be launched within days.

Nov 30: Bainimarama gives Qarase a 24-hour deadline to clean up his government or face being overthrown, despite Qarase's suspending three pieces of legislation the military chief wanted dropped.

Dec 1: Bainimarama extends the deadline until noon on Dec 4. Qarase and his ministers go into hiding. Suva residents stockpile food and cash, while tourists loll on the island's beaches.

Dec 5: Troops set up roadblocks around Suva, surround Qarase's residence, prime minister says he is under house arrest but will not resign. President says he opposes military's action, calls on Fijians to pray for their island country.

First Published: Dec 05, 2006 13:19 IST