Eyewitness accounts from Fiji

>> Are you in Fiji? Please share your accounts of what you can see by emailing nzherald.co.nz with your photos and experiences.


What eye-witnesses can see:

Friday:

4.15pm:
My girlfriend and I are partying in Nadi and there is no disruption at all. The only noticeable change from last time I was here is the lack of tourists! It seems to be a lot of hype for not too much happening! The saddest thing about it is that local business will really suffer with the huge decline in tourism at a time when the island is usually thriving.
- Kelle Taylor

4.00pm:
Emailing from the main University compound (where security has been heightened) adjacent to the Fiji Post Stadium. Most operations are shut and people have been advised to go home after noon………….it seems like a Saturday here in Suva when everything shuts after 1pm………………Interestingly the rugby match between police and army is in progress as I write…………only occasional cheers to be heard rather unusually…………the calmness around Suva is amazing. It is indeed calm and most people would be stuck to their homes at least tonight hoping to wake up to some definite information tomorrow!!!!
- Mani

2.00pm:
Nothing will happen today. If you know, if there is anything more than politics or religion in Fiji, its rugby. This afternoon is the annual "Sukuna Bowl shield" rugby challenge between Police and Army. This shield is held in the same esteem as the Ranfurly shield here. Police won it from Army last year and dedicated the win to their Commissioner Andrew Hughes. The Army captain this year has vowed that they will win it for Commodore Bainimarama. So expect fireworks, not in the capital streets, but at the Post Fiji stadium. I think Bainimarama is already there.
- Apu Simpson

1.30pm:
Update: You'll probably find Frank Bainamarama at the annual Sukuna Bowl. A rugby match between Army and Police this afternoon rather than staging a coup.
- David

I'm living in Lami on the way into Suva. I took a cab into Suva city this morning passing one army truck with soldiers & weapons stationed at Walu Bay approaching the town. Apart from looking menacing there didn't appear to be any action however I've been told since they have marched towards the wharf. The city was chaotic with Fijians food shopping and withdrawing money from the banks. I believe the shops and banks will close for the afternoon.
This is Suva - Nadi is nearly 3 hours drive from here and at this stage there is no reason to cancel any holiday plans - in fact there are many wives & families and non-essential expats enjoying the resorts in Denerau having been sent there by their companies until things settle down.
- Di Driver

1.00pm:
My family is in Fiji and have just called them. Mary Williams who works for a law firm in Suva town provides the following information.
She has advised that town is full of people shopping for supplies. All the government buildings are closed and town is expected to be closing around 4pm (Fiji time) this afternoon.
The word is nothing to likely to happen until Monday, based on whispers around town.
Most people did not turn up to work today, and out shopping stocking up on food and suppliers.
Most people are scared about foreign intervention as they are unable to get out and hope this can be resolved peacefully.
- Tania

12.05pm:
Tension is quite high in Suva now as they've shut the university, downtown businesses and banks at 11.30.
People are just going home...markets are packed as well.
Kind of surreal experience.
- Jonathan Segal

11.30am:
I'm at work, the girls are at school and I just saw my wife head into the Sofitel for lunch with some friends!!
- Geoff

10.25am:
Suva is very calm this morning. There is not much activities happening Streets are quiet with few movement of people and traffic. Something unusual for a Friday. A lot of people have opted to stay home and some business organisations are planning to close early before midday just in case.
- Ricco

Thursday:

We're still in Fiji and life is calm.
Nadi, is completely bliss and relaxed. Am sorry for businesses feeling the crunch of this impasse. Being Fiji born, one needs to understand, that in this case, no amount of advice will be heeded unless related to the individual agenda. It's a matter of Fijians against Fijians. May both parties, adjust, empathise and readily accept responsibility in urgently fixing their bruised egos. May good sense prevail, and may these be soon, before the majority of civilian Fijians are left without jobs at Christmas.
- Fiona Leggett

As residents of Suva it is life as usual. Fiji is not Africa so that there could be mayhem during these times. Fiji is a Melanesian country and is smack in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with a laid back attitude.
It is life as usual in Fiji and if you wish to come and sample what Fiji has to offer, you are most welcome. Remember, that Fiji is not Dafur, Somalia or Iraq. Fiji is Fiji and it will not change come what may.
- Paul Kausimae, Suva

I live here in Fiji with my family on the Coral Coast. We are relaxed with the situation although frustrated as it is causing nervousness for investors and financing so we are personally hampered by the impasse. Last night's exercises were only ever that "exercises". At worst it was a show of strength to any possible foreign presence which is just not necessary. The public preparation for the exercises were thorough and widespread so that no one would take fright from them. The PM was well briefed and it was not a scary situation. I am going to Suva in the morning with absolutely no worries even if there is a coup. The only bother will be that my medical appointment will probably be cancelled. The shame of the matter is that it's a fantastic time to be in Fiji. The weather is the best it's been for months and there is hardly anyone here. Still I understand the concern of travellers and hope for a quick resolution to the impasse. I am very impressed with the efforts of Winston Peters and the NZ Govt. There positive intervention is far better for the situation than the doomsday commentary coming from across the Tasman. Certainly makes me proud to be a kiwi - good on you Winston! Please give some balance to this argument
- James

The situation in Fiji is calm at the moment. I am based in Suva, and amongst the community I can feel the sorrow and fear the Fijians hold. Whether or not the coup happens, I believe the most damage has already been done. Hotels are literally empty when they should be approximately 70 per cent full. Boat cruises and the entire tourism in Fiji is has been hit very detrimental and will take years to build back up to where it was. People are being laid off, which will result in Fiji families without a merry Christmas. Thus resulting in more crime such as petty theft. This is one reason I am leaving Fiji as I feel unsafe because of the tension and stress of the economic downfall which has occurred. I believe the only place unsafe in Fiji is Suva. There is no one person to be blamed for this, but many. From the Fiji military leader to the corrupt Fijian parliament. The NZ and Australian Newspapers are also at fault, over exaggerated stories for more money, resulting in a very tiresome, destroyed beautiful country, Fiji.
- Sarah

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