Logbook about the May 19, 2000 coup in Fiji


Friday, 19 May 2000
Time Events


bulletClose to 5000 supporters of the Taukei Movement and Nationalist Vanua Tako Lavo Party marched to Parliament House to protest the policies of the People’s Coalition government, led by Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry.
bulletA red four-wheel-drive zigzagged through the city followed by another minibus loaded with gunmen, which was chased by police.
bulletA group of seven gunmen, led by businessman George Speight, entered Parliament. Two men had balaclavas on, while the rest were in jeans and wearing caps, some brandishing pistols, others M-16 guns. Members of the takeover gang were later identified as soldiers of the elite First Meridian Squadron (the military’s Counter-Revolutionary Warfare Unit, established after the 1987 coups).
bulletTwo gunshots were fired inside Parliament to warn the Speaker, Dr. Kurasaqila and Opposition members to leave
bulletPrime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry and his Ministers were handcuffed and made to kneel.
bulletFijian members of government were taken into the Parliament Chambers, under guard. Indo-Fijian members were taken to the Government Members Office with the windows and doors locked without allowing light into the room. Chaudhry and the other hostages were heavily guarded by men toting Uzi and M16 rifles. Among the hostages is Adi Koila Nailatikau, daughter of the President Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara
bulletGeorge Speight held a press conference where he named his interim Prime Minister, Ratu Timoci Silatolu and Minister for Home Affairs Ratu Rakuita Vakalalabure
bulletFormer Prime Minister Mr. Sitiveni Rabuka arrived in Parliament as mediator between the President, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara and the terrorists
bulletAfter hearing of the takeover of Parliament, looters broke into shops and supermarkets in central Suva taking groceries, jewellery, clothes, shoes and electronic goods. Police reported 16 shops were burnt within the vicinity of Suva and over 160 looted, with damage estimated at between F$30-60 million.
  Saturday 20 May 2000
bulletGeorge Speight organised a meeting before international and local journalists, and claimed authority over the country. He proceeded to name members of a new government (This supposed government has not been recognised by international authorities). Coup leader Speight swore in Ratu Jope Seniloli as President of the self-proclaimed "Taukei Civilian Government". Mr. Speight was sworn in as Interim Prime Minister then others were sworn in before Ratu Jope Seniloli as members of his Cabinet. The names put forward for the new regime were:
  1. Deputy Prime Minister Timoci Silatolu
  2. Attorney General and Minister of Justice Ratu Rakuita Vakalalabure
  3. Minister for Housing and Urban Development Viliame Volavola
  4. Minister for Youths and Sports Peceli Rinakama
  5. Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Isireli Leweniqila
  6. Minister for Land and Mineral Resources Iliesa Duvuloco
  7. Minister for Works and Energy Viliame Savu
  8. Minister for Information Simione Kaitani
  9. Asst. Minister for Lands Mitieli Bulanauca
  10. Asst. Minister for Education Manasa Moce
  11. Asst. Minister for Urban Development Eroni Lewaqai
  12. Asst. Minister for Environment Antonio Tanaburenisau
  13. Asst. Minister for Forest Lepani Tonitonivanua
bullet Deputy Prime Minister of the People’s Coalition Government Dr. Tupeni Baba was brought before the media. He appealed to the army not to intervene after rebel leader Speight received a letter from the RMF.
bulletA curfew was enforced from 6pm- 6am and President Ratu Mara declares a State of Emergency.
  Sunday 21 May 2000
bulletA range of local and overseas authorities condemns the coup. International condemnation includes Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, the United States and the Commonwealth.
bulletThe National Council of Women and other women’s groups establishes a daily vigil for peace and reconciliation at the Holy Trinity Cathedral. The vigil continues every day from 12 to 2pm in spite of death threats from Speight supporters to key organisers of the vigil
bulletThe Pacific Concerns Resource Centre (PCRC) issues a statement opposing the armed take over
bulletSpeight releases a number of hostages including assistant Ministers John Ali, Lekh Ram Vayeshnoi and Gaffar Ahmed
  Monday 22 May 2000
bulletRebels ask youths to take up arms. About 100 young men were invited by self proclaimed Prime Minister, George Speight.
bulletThese young men were separated into smaller groups to guard the perimeters of the Parliament complex, where the hostages were being held, as a precautionary measure in preparation for any attacks. Over the next two days, hundreds of people move in and out of the Parliamentary complex, which remains under the control of the hostage takers.
bulletFijian Chiefs meet to gauge the President's support. The Bose Levu Vakaturaga (Great Council of Chiefs) convened for a three day meeting to reaffirm the support behind the President Ratu Kamisese Mara
bulletPresident asks the media to stop giving rebel group prominence; the President asks Fiji One TV (the only TV station in the country) not to broadcast statements by George Speight and his supporters, to remove all cameras and broadcasting equipment to 1km radius from the parliament building and not to over fly that vicinity with either a fixed wing or helicopter to a radius of 5km
bulletThere are claims by international media that Prime Minister Chaudhry was assaulted while in detention
  Tuesday 23 May 2000
bulletGreat Council of Chiefs meeting begins at the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, Queen Elizabeth Barracks
bulletA traditional apology was presented to the Chiefs of the Council by the Province of Tailevu (where Speight is from). Ratu Tevita Leiloma (Roko Tui Tailevu) made the apology on behalf of Speight for his statements criticising the Council, which was accepted.
bulletThe GCC had come to a resolution and that was to 'declare their support to the President and the efforts he was pursuing to return Fiji to normalcy.
bulletTwo hostages were released on medical grounds, Labour Members of Parliament Michael Columbus and Naresh Kumar
bulletPrime Minister Chaudhry suffered broken ribs, after a third degree bashing by members of the terrorist group according to Acting People's Coalition Party Leader Tevita Momoedomu.
bulletDr. Adhar together with Heart Specialist Dr. Bhagat Ram were allowed into the Parliament complex to attend to the hostages
bulletCurfew extended to the towns of Nausori and Labasa - 8pm - 5am
bulletPeople wanting to drive during the curfew hours have to obtain a permit from Police Station and to provide valid reasons.
  Wednesday 24 May 2000
bulletThe Crest Chicken Ltd factory in Colo-i-Suva was burnt down overnight, in a suspected arson attack
bulletCommonwealth Secretary General, Don McKinnon and UN Representative of the Secretary General Sergio Vieira de Mello arrive in Suva to meet with the President, government authorities and the hostage takers. The two envoys visited the hostages held in captivity at the Parliament complex where Mr. de Mello urged Speight to release the hostages. The envoys were told by Speight not to interfere.
bulletRatu Rakuita (the Taukei Civilian Government representative) made his presentation to the GCC meeting on three main issues: that they include abolishment of the 1997 Constitution, the approval for amnesty for those involved in the coup, and an acceptance of the Civilian Governments mode of administration.
bulletSpeight should be charged with treason according to mediator, Sitiveni Rabuka
bulletThe Catholic Church condemns takeover
bulletMacuata Province declares support for President Ratu Mara; Cakaudrove show support for Speight, while Ratu Josua states that not all Chiefs of Tailevu support takeover
bulletHostages Mahendra Chaudhry and son Rajendra were pulled out and had guns pointed at them on the basis of an allegation that they were encouraging a military attack on the hostage camp
  Thursday 25 May 2000
bulletSpeight declares that Prime Minister Chaudhry will be forced to resigned as soon as coup plotters will release him
bulletRatu Mara is convinced the 1 year old government led by Chaudhry must go
bulletRatu Mara rejects the 1997 multi-racial constitution, which replaced the 1990 document under which Indigenous Fijian had exclusive rights to leadership
bulletMedia reports state that Prime Minister Chaudhry tells visitors (UN representative & Commonwealth Secretary General) that he had been maltreated twice - on one occasion he was dragged along the ground for about 15 meters and roughly handled
bulletSpeight rejects the Bose Levu Vakaturaga (Great Council of Chiefs) 10 points resolution to resolve the current political impasse. The BLV resolution states that the BLV agrees:
  1. To give its full support to the President in its effort to return Fiji to normalcy and out of the state of emergency which now exists.
  2. That amendments be made to the 1997 constitution and that this amendments should embrace all concerns that have been expressed by the Taukei
  3. To give its full support to Ratu Kamisese Mara as president of the republic of Fiji and Ratu Josefa Iloilo as Vice President
  4. That a council of advisers be appointed to assist Ratu Mara as President and as leader of the Interim administration
  5. Ratu Mara has sole authority to appoint the council of advisers and that some of these advisers be selected from the group led by George Speight
  6. That Ratu Mara be asked to exercise his powers to pardon all those who participated in the forcible takeover of Parliament and the kidnapping of the People's Coalition.
  7. That Ratu Mara be requested to give full and urgent attention to the grievances raised by various Taukei groups during the recent protest marches with special attention given to ensuring that the position of the President and the Prime Minister, together with other senior government positions(unspecified)shall always be held by indigenous Fijians and Rotumans
  8. That an immediate request be made for the release of all hostages from the parliamentary complex and the surrender of all fire arms to the police.
  9. That the interim administration have a definite term and that it has a primary focus o the amendments to the 1997 constitution and the amendments necessary to subsidiary and related legislation
  10. That it will continue to be available for further dialogue with George Speight and his followers should the need present itself.
bulletOvernight, the office of Fiji Hard Wood Ltd. was burnt down in central Suva in a suspected arson attack (Speight was formerly Chairman of the company before his illegal takeover)
bulletThere is no provision in the 1997 Constitution that will allow Mr. Speight to be amnestied.
  FRIDAY 26 MAY, 2000
bulletEighth night since Speight took over PM Chaudhry's government
bulletAbout 15 reserve and serving soldiers join the hostage takers in the Parliamentary complex - led by Major Jone Savua (brother of the police commissioner)
bulletGeorge Speight rejects the GCC resolution
bullet1st check point scuffle between police and Speight supporters
bulletBritain, US, New Zealand and Australia increasing disapproval, with threats of sanctions
bulletGunman thumps armed soldier
bulletPolice ask for army help at checkpoints
bulletHindu temple stoned, shop burns at Baulevu Road in Naitasiri
  Saturday, 27 May 2000
bulletMahendra Chaudhry and his deposed government members are still being held hostage in Parliament
bulletSupporters of Speight wound two soldiers (Aseri Rokoura) and an overseas cameraman (Jerry Harmer) during an attack on the armed soldiers. The clash is as follows:
bulletMen gathered and march towards the military checkpoint about 200 metres away from the Parliamentary gates, about 300 metres from Suva Grammar School.
bulletMen approach the checkpoint, a spokesman asks soldiers to remove roadblock but soldiers have raised their weapons warning men off
bulletAll hell breaks loose. Screaming, gunshots and scuffles between civilians and military men. The civilians attempt to wrestle weapons off the soldiers
bulletSoldiers give up and run towards Suva Grammar School and the Pacific Theological College. The civilian mob starts to uproot the soldiers' tents and removing barbed wire and traffic traps placed across the road.
bulletThe first civilian group returns to the Parliamentary complex with barbed wire
bulletThe second group carrying two military tents enters the complex singing a traditional Fijian war song
bulletThe men gather in front of the complex for a briefing from executive security official
bulletCompound once again fills with the singing of the womenfolk as more supporters trickle in.
  Sunday, 28 May 2000
bulletSunday night brings serious clashes and the death of two people, when armed supporters of the Speight group attack targets in central Suva:
bulletAn angry group of men, numbering about 50, spill out of the government offices at the Parliamentary complex and make their way towards the back gate of Parliament.
bulletThe mob spot FM96 radio personality Tukini Cama, and several armed members of the group escort him into one of government offices. A Fiji Times reporter dashes back to the parliamentary bure to inform Viti FM's Malakai Veisamasama.
bulletFiji Times reporter is ordered back into the bure after trying to get to the parliamentary carpark.
bulletTwo female journalists from New Zealand still inside the compound are stopped and taken to one of the government offices after trying to make their way out of the back gate.
bulletOne Speight supporter and a gunman walk into the bure and informed local journalists still present that their safety could not be guaranteed and that they would be better off inside the Fijian Association Party office where they will be provided with an armed guard from the mob incensed at comments made on Fiji Television's Close-up program.
bulletA mob attacks Fiji Television Limited in Gorrie Street Suva, smashing equipment and putting the country’s only TV station off air for two days. TV journalists and staff flee from the building One group headed for the Central Police Station while the other moved towards the suburb of Nasese.
bulletA police officer Filipo Seavula of Navala Village in Ba was shot three times at a checkpoint at Domain. He later dies from abdominal wounds in hospital. The shooting of a Fijian police officer by supporters of the hostage takers increases calls for the army to replace the unarmed police at roadblocks around the Parliamentary complex.
bulletA security officer (Mr Paula Tupou) dies of a heart attack while fleeing the mob during the shooting spree in Suva.
bulletSeveral of the local journalists with an armed guard walk to the FAP office. Fiji Sun photographer Sitiveni Moce is verbally abused by some of the bystanders near the office.
bulletMembers of Speight’s security team confiscate all mobile phones. The only foreign journalists present are from New Zealand and a three-man television crew from the Philippines along with their local driver. Several people pass the office, gesticulate wildly at the journalists inside and show clenched fists at them. The sound of cheering is heard outside.
bulletTwo female journalists are taken back to their hotel by a male colleague. The Filipino crew leaves shortly afterwards with an armed escort. Two other Australian journalists are allowed in to confirm the safety of their colleagues who have decided to stay. They leave shortly afterwards. Local journalists decide to stay after members of the territorial force of the Fiji army who have joined Speight's group assure them of their safety. However, they are not allowed outside for the remainder of the night.
  Monday 29 May 2000
bulletIn an unprecedented move to find a quick solution to the current political crisis, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara steps aside from the Presidency to allow officers of the Fiji Military Forces to run the country, after an approach by senior military officers.
bulletThe country will be run by an interim military government with the abrogation of the 1997 Constitution
bulletRFMF Commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, resumed executive authority and declared Martial Law (treating all civilians like soldiers). The military later issues a decree abrogating the 1997 Consitution but also retaining all existing laws apart from that.
bulletCommodore Bainimarama has placed Suva under curfew, limited all movement to the Parliamentary complex to essential services only, called members of the RFMF reserves into barracks for the purposes of being deployed to support RFMF efforts.
bulletSpeight supporters are taken in custody when they leave the Parliament complex: Simione Kaitaini, Information Minister in the Taukei Civilian Government and his brother Meli were arrested overnight, when police find a gun in the vehicle they are travelling in. Key activist Joe Nata, advisor to the Taukei Government and a group of men responsible for carting goods and men in and out of parliament were also arrested (Nata is later released from custody).
bulletWith the increasing violence on Sunday night, the murder of an unarmed Fijian police officer and an impasse over the hostage crisis, the Fiji Military Forces step in and declare martial law
bulletThe military announce that Suva is placed under a 48 hour curfew with effect from 1800hrs today
bulletFormer Fiji Military Forces Officer Major Joseva Savua was reportedly arrested by soldiers at a Vatuwaqa checkpoint.
bulletMajor Savua is the younger brother of Isikia Savua, who led a group of reserve soldiers to the parliamentary complex in support for George Speight and his group)
  Tuesday 30 May 2000
bulletEarly in the morning, the military announce that the 48-hour curfew has been cancelled, to be replaced by an 8pm to 6am curfew nationwide.
bulletThe Speight group is still holding hostage Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry and members of his government
bulletThe President Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara and members of his immediate family have been evacuated from Government House for security reasons as they continue to receive threats on their lives from elements believed to be members of self-styled taukei leader George Speight's group.
bulletA report from Government House said the President and his wife, Ro Lady Lala Mara are safe in the best of health
bulletSuva back in business, with some shops opening
bulletFive gunmen of Speight were arrested and beaten up by soldiers and police.
bulletOne of those arrested was treated at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital for a fractured nose he suffered in the beatings
bulletThree of the arrested men are members of the elite First Meridian Squadron who were involved in the armed takeover of the government almost two weeks ago
bulletAnother, the driver for a former cabinet minister held hostage by Speight, is the prime suspect in the murder of a policeman who was shot three times on Sunday night.
bulletThree hostage takers' vehicles were confiscated, a pistol found in one of them.
bulletThe military has quickly evacuated families of people like to be targeted by Speight's thugs
Late night
bulletSpeight's supporters threatened to terrorise the city again, this time to avenge "army and police brutality"
bulletThe army has been given the "shoot to kill" order by their Commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama
bulletAmy puts new laws in place
bulletFrank Bainimarama issued two decrees as he moved to consolidate military authority over the country:
bulletDecree No 1 of 2000, sets aside the 1997 constitution and forms the legal basis for the military takeover and the imposition of martial law, effective from Monday, May 28.

Decree No 2 of 2000, allows all existing laws to continue unless modified.

bulletCommodore Bainimarama has indicated that his first priority is to restore law and order and to secure the release of the hostages.
bulletAustralian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer seeks urgent talks with army chief Commodore Frank Bainimarama.
bulletSpeight is banned from entering Australia under existing immigration laws
bullet(Speight holds a permanent residency visa in Australia)
bulletThe Ministry of Education announces that all schools would be closed and second term holidays have begun due to the current crisis.
bulletRoad Blocks at the following places: Rewa Dairy; Bailey Bridge; Laucala Bay Road; Ratu Sukuna Road; Ratu Sukuna/Muanikau; Muanikau Police Post; Duncan Road; Domain/Ratu Cakobau/ Bowling Club; Marine Walu; Police Post Delainavesi; Wailoku Police Post; ATG; Toorak Road; Waimanu Road; Holland Street/Fiji Arts Club
bulletGeorge Speight refused to release the People's Coalition government members which his gunmen have held captive in parliament for the last 11 days
bulletSpeight has called for the resignation of the Army Commander Commodore Frank Bainimarama head of the military government under martial law
bulletMr. Speight has made it clear that the release of all the hostages hinges on the following:
bulletAmnesty for his men,
bulletThe abrogation of the Constitution,
bulletAnd the resignation of the President, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara

However, all these conditions have already been achieved, and Speight continues to add new demands before the hostages can be released.

bulletThe Army names as interim Prime Minister Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, former army commander, husband of Adi Koila and son-in-law of former President Ratu Mara. However he is unable to establish any administration as negotiations continue with the hostage takers.
  Wednesday 31 May 2000
bulletCommodore Bainimarama postponed naming of members of Interim Military Government until they are "sure that the situation has stabilised to a point where they can be expected to carry out their task, which is to put in place a viable constitution and pure the way to next general elections and the return to democratic rule"
bulletMilitary council comprising of some military officers including Major General Sitiveni Rabuka (former Prime Minister and coup leader in 1987)
bulletGeorge Speight ruled out in the new Cabinet
bulletMilitary state conditions for membership of Cabinet
bulletApolitical i.e. Without any political affiliations
bulletAnd competent
bulletRatu Epeli Nailatikau as the Interim Prime Minister is contacting members of his cabinet individually and consulting with Military with the matter
bulletIndia sends a diplomat, S. Devare, secretary of economic relations in the Foreign Ministry to Australia and India "consultation" following declaration of martial law. He will be visiting Suva as well PM Vajpayee nationalist BJP Party urged government to take more active stand on Fiji and mobilise strong global opinion to bring the crises to a speedy end. Party also favoured trade and economic sanctions against Fiji if necessary
bulletSolomon Islands Council of Trade Union (SICTU) imposes an indefinite ban on all shipping, air transport, passenger and postal services to Fiji. President, David Tuhanuku said action is in response to a request from the Fiji Council of Trade Unions, the international trade union movement and the Australian Council of Trade Unions called on the SI Authority, Solomon Airlines and postal services and honor the ban
bulletPeople’s Coalition Government Minister Adi Ema Tagicakibau, held hostage since 19 May, temporarily released to attend sister's funeral on the understanding that she return to the complex afterwards
bulletHands of three major Christian denomination presented their "i sevusevu" to Commodore Bainimarama, Rev Tomasi Kanailagi (Methodist Church), Catholic Archbishop Petero Mataca and Bishop Jabez Bryce of the Anglican Church in support of military action in trying to bring stability to the country.
bulletCommodore Bainimarama, as interim head of state reaffirmed that amnesty is granted to Mr. Speight and the six men who stormed into Parliament but the amnesty did not include immunity from criminal activities or the murder of the police officer on Sunday night
bulletSaid criminal investigations into the murder of police constable, the shooting of two soldiers and an overseas journalist and the destruction of the Fiji TV Head Quarters. Fiji TV will proceed as normal. The army state that a amnesty will only be granted after the hostages are released and firearms returned.
  Thursday, 1 June 2000
bulletA decision on whether a military or civilian Government will run the nation has been left to the Great Council of Chiefs, but there is no schedule date for a meeting of the GCC.
bulletSpeight has claimed support from the governments of Papua New Guinea and Malaysia for the overthrow of the Chaudhry government. Papua New Guinea however denies support for Speight and repeats its condemnation of the hostage takings.
bulletTwo Maori activist, Mr Tama Iti and Tony Sinclair arrived in the country to support Speight.
bulletTrade unions in NZ are pushing for a complete black ban against Fiji.
bulletThe council resolved:
bulletTo support the proposed sanctions by the NZ Govt; handling of cargo to and from Fiji be banned; to persuade all New Zealand businesses to suspend trading with Fiji; to boycott Fiji as a tourist destination and to stop advertising and promoting Fiji; boycott NZ goods; to stop sporting contacts with Fiji; that unions raise funds to help the FTUC; to work together with international trade unions in other countries to suspend all aid, technical and defence ties and that all trade preferential access be removed
bulletAustralia announcers its commitment in implementing sanctions against Fiji's Military take over
bulletCanada proposes Fiji's suspension from the Commonwealth
  Friday, 2 June 2000
bulletOne of George Speight's supporters who was among a group which was terrorising residents at Vuda Road is shot in the legs by the army.
   Saturday, 3 June 2000
bulletTwenty-one people are arrested for breaching curfew laws. They are expected to appear in court soon.
bulletMr Speight speaks to reporters at the parliamentary complex. He announces he is confident of being the interim Prime Minister and he would be accepted by the GCC.
bulletMilitary officials await the arrival of Mr Speight and his advisors at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks (QEB) for negotiations. Only one of his men, Tevita Bukarau attends the meeting. The RFMF is disappointed. Negotiations between RFMF and Mr Speight breaks down.
bulletBa chiefs decide they want to form their own government.
   Sunday, 4 June 2000
bulletChurch service held inside the parliamentary complex in Veiuto. Attendance was not as much as it was last week.
bulletSpeight's guards claim that the Fiji Times is biased and unfair.
bulletNegotiations between the army and Speight's men rescheduled after a breakdown the day before.
bulletNegotiations continue.
   Monday, 5 June 2000
bulletRed Cross continues with its humanitarian assistance at Parliament.
bulletMore mattresses and food supply are taken for hostages.
bulletTwo men appear in court for bashing a policeman outside Parliament. They are bailed at $3000 each to appear on June 22
bulletWestern Chiefs meet and decide that Mahendra Chaudhry will head their proposed Western Government.
bulletBoth sides hold back. Military will not take any more demands from the rebels and have refused to pass executive powers to the GCC before its three months term is over.
bulletPress conference at the Parliament complex (6pm). Speight goes against Bainimarama's claims that they (Speight's group) want to be part of the interim government. He reaffirms that he would keep the hostages for as long as it takes for GCC to appoint a civilian government.
bulletPress Statement by Military: Commodore Bainimarama says he has the support from the vanua.
bulletAir Pacific flight leaves without its normal export cargo because of Australian Congress of Trade Unions boycott of Fiji in and outbound cargo, mail and products.
  Tuesday, 6 June 2000
bulletGarment industry reveals thousands may lose their jobs. Garment manufacturers such as Mark Halabe and Ramesh Solanki attack the Fiji Trades Union Congress (FTUC) and their Australian counterparts, over union bans which restrict supplies. FTUC replies that garment owners are using crisis to attack wages and conditions.
bulletFSC reveals that 210 workers from its Labasa sugar mill were laid off last week.
bulletBoth military and Speight's sides hold their ground.
bulletMilitary press conference: Commodore Bainimarama reiterates that Speight must give up and release the hostages.
bulletThe 3pm deadline for soldiers involved at parliament to return is over. Only 1 officer and two soldiers march back into the military camp. The rest have been decommissioned and dismissed.
  Wednesday, 7 June 2000
bulletFiji partially suspended from Commonwealth.
bulletMilitary and Speight supporters in brief firefight but no casualties reported.
  Thursday, 8 June 2000
bulletA policeman is being bashed by George Speight's supporters and suffers serious facial injuries.
bulletThe Immigration Department restricts issues and renewal of passports- new passport blanks have to be ordered from UK after the supply runs out. About 400 people are day are leaving the country.
bulletWorkers are encouraged by their employers to call on FTUC to call off trade bans imposed by overseas unions.
  Friday, 9 June 2000
bulletMerchant Bank Chief Laisenia Qarase co-opted into military council as advisor on finance. Qarase will later be suggested as a possible leader of the interim civilian administration.
bullet2000 lose jobs as economic crisis worsens.
  Saturday, 10 June 2000
bulletSpeight supporters leave Parliament and try to break through police road block. Repulsed by police, they burn and destroy a seaside restaurant instead.
  Sunday, 11 June 2000
bulletTui Vuda and former Vice President Ratu Josefa Iloilo meets military on appointment of President after West chiefs and rebels back him for the position.
  Monday, 12 June 2000
bulletSoldiers at a military checkpoint near parliament open fire on two vehicles, one containing Speight. Speight, uninjured, claims it is an assassination attempt. Soldiers deny this, stating that Speight and his support car tried to run the road block without stopping.
  Tuesday, 13 June 2000
bulletThe Fiji Under -21 rugby tour of New Zealand called off after the team was denied visas by the New Zealand government.
  Wednesday, 14 June 2000
bulletThe military says talks with Speight were "back on track" after Ratu Iloilo agrees to mediate.
  Thursday, 15 June 2000
bulletCommonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) led by Malaysian Foreign Minister, including Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and his New Zealand counterpart, Phil Goff arrive for one day to assess Fiji situation. The CMAG group holds meetings with the army, churches, community groups etc, but refuses to meet Speight.
  Friday, 16 June 2000
bulletCMAG departs, saying Fiji will return to democracy rule in two years.
  Saturday, 17 June 2000
bulletMilitary announces it will appoint civilian Cabinet but hold on to Head of State until situation returns to normalcy. Military accepts only three of Speight's nominees to an interim Cabinet, but stresses it will determine membership of the interim administration.
  Sunday, 18 June 2000
bulletTalks between rebels, military and Tui Vuda on the membership of an interim Cabinet and a Constitution review commission begins.
  Monday, 19 June 2000
bulletTalks continue.
  Tuesday, 20 June 2000
bulletThe hostage crisis continues.
bulletSchools on main Islands of Vanua Levu and Viti Levu and University remain closed. Outer island schools (on Kadavu, Taveuni, Lau etc) recommence today
  Wednesday, 21 June 2000
bulletPublic Service Commission announces they are considering a 20% pay cut for all public servants (teachers, nurses, police and other sectors)
  Thursday, 22 June 2000
bulletTalks between the military and George Speight's group came to an abrupt end because Speight's group were not happy with an amended draft prepared by the military group.
bulletThe new negotiation committee will comprise three from each group. The GCC represented by Ratu Epeli Kanaiwai, Adi Litia Cakobau, Ratu Osea Gavidi. Army representative Commodore Bainimarama, Lieutenant-Colonel Filipo Taraikinikini and Lieutenant-Colonel Jerry Waqanisau. George Speight, Tevita Bukarau and Vodo Tuberi are from the rebel group. The meeting was co-chaired by Ratu Josefa Iloilo and Ratu Epeli Kanaiwai
bulletRewa villagers back Speight for the coup and demand a Taukei government and the abrogation of the 1997 constitution.
bulletRebel soldiers train close to 170 young men in self-defence at the Parliament. The youngest is about 10 years old and the oldest no more than 35. The idea behind training them was not only to set up a civilian army but also to keep them occupied, disciplined and out of trouble.
bulletMore professionals to leave the country because of the crisis. An estimated 700 people leave Fiji a day - many tourists, but also Fiji citizens. Japanese tourism has dropped to 10% of normal levels, other tourism numbers down by 60%.
bulletMinistry of Education announces that Classes to resume next week but new exam timetables set. The Army says it will protect schools with patrols.



People's Coalition Government - Fiji Islands
Last update: August 27, 2001