Fiji: What's happened so far

Military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, has seized control in Fiji.

Commodore Bainimarama had repeatedly threatened to remove Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase's elected government unless it dropped three pieces of controversial legislation, including a bill that would grant amnesty to those involved in a coup in 2000.

On November 13 he issued nine demands to the Qarase government which included the withdrawal of the bills.

At 6pm (7pm NZT) on December 5 he seized control, installed himself as President, sacked Qarase, named his own man as PM and sent soldiers onto the streets with police.

This is how events unfolded.

December 7

* Military-appointed Prime Minister Jona Senilagakali admits the coup is illegal but says as a member of the military he had to accept his position.

* Dr Senilagakali warns New Zealand and Australia not to interfere in Fiji's affairs

* Commodore Bainimarama sacks the Acting Commissioner of Police, Moses Driver, and his deputy - installing instead Army colonel Jim Koroi

December 6

* Fijian media is censored - some refuse to publish because of interference

* New Zealand, Australia, the United Nations, European Union, Commonwealth, United States and Britain all condemn the military takeover.

* Josefa Iloilo says the military action was illegal meaning that he is still president.

* The police refuse to follow military orders

* Prime Minister Qarase is flown out of Suva to his home island of Lau

* Soldiers surround the Police Tactical Response Unit headquarters and hold discussions with the Acting Police Commissioner Moses Driver

* Soldiers ask Fiji's Senate to adjourn its sitting and the House complies.

Parliament grounds are sealed off.

* Commodore Bainimarama swears in Dr Senilagakali as prime minister and replaces Acting Police Commissioner Moses Driver with an Army colonel

December 5

* Soldiers man checkpoints and guard roads around government offices and other key facilities in the Fijian capital.

* Fijian soldiers surround the residence of Mr Qarase and confiscate his car.

Mr Qarase is trapped inside his home with Fiji's attorney-general and other members of his cabinet, leaving him unable to function as Fiji's leader.

Soldiers seal off the street and force media out of photographic range.

* Prime Minister Helen Clark bans Commodre Bainimarama from entering New Zealand except to attend talks to end Fiji's political crisis.

* Mr Qarase refuses an official request from President Ratu Josef Iloilo to give into military demands or resign.

* Commodore Bainimarama announces the imposition of virtual martial law and appoints an Army GP, Dr Jona Senilagakali, as interim Prime Minister.

He says he will act as President for a week before asking the Great Council of Chiefs to reappoint Josefa Iloilo.

December 4

* Heavily armed Fijian troops remove weapons from Suva headquarters of the police tactical response unit. Across town, soldiers enter another police armoury.

* Troops put up roadblocks throughout the capital and cut off several roads leading to it.

* Mr Qarase attempts to visit Fijian President Ratu Josefa Iloilo's residence but said soldiers turned away his vehicle.

The prime minister says the soldiers had wanted him to walk from the entrance gate along an uphill driveway about 400 metres long.

"I refused to do that, so I came back," Mr Qarase tells local radio.

* Mr Qarase returns to Suva by helicopter after the military set up a roadblock near where he was speaking in a regional town.

Saturday December 2 and Sunday December 3

* Speculation and rumour swirl around Suva as to whether and when a military coup and Government overthrow will take place.

* Cdre Bainimarama rules out further talks with Mr Qarase, saying "I don't have to meet with him any more... His time has run out."

Friday December 1

* Pacific foreign ministers meet in Sydney, at Mr Qarase's request, to consider the repeated coup threats from Fiji's military leader.

* Cdre Bainimarama visits the Fijian president ahead of a noon (1.00pm NZT) deadline for the government to meet his demands or face a military takeover.

* Mr Qarase attends functions in the west of Fiji's main island Viti Levu but says he plans to return to Suva.

Mr Qarase says he does not know what will happen at noon, but admits he is counting on divine intervention to prevent Fiji's fourth coup in 20 years.

* The noon deadline passes with no military action. Rugby sides representing the Fijian army and police forces take to the field in a game watched by a 5000-strong crowd including Cdre Bainimarama.

Thursday November 30

* Fijian military holds exercises in Suva, taking up positions around key buildings.

* Mr Qarase announces he will suspend three controversial bills at the heart of Cdre Bainimarama's threats against his government.

Mr Qarase says the government would accept any recommendation by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) not to lay sedition charges against the military chief and other senior military figures - another key demand made by Bainimarama.

* In response Cdre Bainimarama says the concessions are unsatisfactory and gives the Prime Minister until noon to meet every one of the military's "non-negotiable" demands.

Wednesday November 29

* New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters brokers talks between the Fijian Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase and Commodore Bainimarama.

The talks at Government House in Wellington end with no sign of a backdown by either side.

Mr Peters describes them as "lengthy, serious and meaningful" but says there is more talking to be done.

Monday November 27

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

Friday November 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.

Tuesday October 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.

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter


© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf04 at 23 Oct 2016 14:21:29 Processing Time: 968ms