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PM flies out as Fiji military takeover.

Fiji' smilitary ruler declared a state of emergency yesterday, one day after seizing power, the country's media has reported.

Police, ousted politicians and senior bureaucrats have defied Commodore Frank Bainimarama's coup with passive resistance, and international sanctions have begun isolating the South Pacific country.

Bainimarama ordered that a security cordon be set up around the capital, Suva, checkpoints established at strategic points around the city, and said all military reserves will be "marched" into military camps to support the state of emergency, the Legend radio network reported.

The declaration came after troops held meetings with acting police chief Moses Driver, who had earlier issued a statement denouncing the military takeover and instructing his officers not to comply with any orders given by the military regime.

Mr Driver was taken to the main military barracks in Suva under duress, after troops came to police headquarters and demanded he accompany them, a police spokeswoman said.

Troops also entered and broke up a meeting of senior government bureaucrats who had convened to discuss Tuesday's takeover.

Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase's permanent secretary Jioji Kotobalavu was taken away by soldiers who said he was wanted for discussions at the military base.

Soldiers also broke up a session of the country's senate, which convened yesterday to resume its scheduled budget deliberations.

Troops entered the chamber and ordered lawmakers to end their session, which they did peacefully, said clerk of parliament Mary Chapman.

Mr Qarase flew out of Suva yesterday at the request of the military, returning to his home village on an outlying island.

Mr Qarase insists he is still Fiji's legitimate leader.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Dec 7, 2006
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