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Aussie PM condemns Fiji emergency as "military dictatorship"

Melbourne, Sun, 12 Apr 2009 ANI

Melbourne, Apr. 12 (ANI): Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has condemned the recent declaration of emergency in Fiji, saying that the move would turn the great country into a military dictatorship.


"Australia condemns unequivocally this action by the military ruler of Fiji to turn this great country, Fiji, into virtually a military dictatorship, with the suspension of freedom of the press and actions which undermine prosperity for the ordinary people of Fiji" quoted Rudd, as saying.


Following the cancellation of the ASEAN summit in Thailand, Rudd returned home and deplored the latest developments in Fiji.


On Saturday, Fiji's President Ratu Josefa Iloilo declared a state of emergency after country's Armed Forces Chief Commodore Frank Bainimarama was sworn in as the new Prime Minister.


Also, the president suspended the constitution and fired judges who declared the military leader's earlier government illegal.


The emergency rule limits freedom of speech, expands police powers and curbs the freedom of press.


The latest moves ensure that Bainimarama retains control over Fiji despite a court ruling this week that the 2006 coup in which he seized power was unlawful.


The nation of 800,000 people has seen four coups in the past 20 years.


Fiji's latest political crisis has international condemnation with Australia, New Zealand, the US, the UN and the Commonwealth pressing for a return to democracy. (ANI)


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