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Last Updated: Sunday, 10 December 2006, 14:59 GMT
Post-coup Fiji warns dissenters
Members of a congregation take part in a multidenominational church service in the capital of Fiji
Church members called for unity in a time of crisis
Fiji's military leaders have warned people not to speak out against the Pacific Island's new rulers, or face being taken in for questioning.

Military spokesman Neumi Leweni said that they would take a tough stance with anyone "inciting problems".

He said that the new leadership, which seized power in a bloodless coup on Tuesday, sought a "smooth transition".

There are reports that several prominent Fijians have already been taken to the armed forces headquarters.

'Persuaded'

"When we hear or it is reported that some individual is attempting to make some statement that we see as inciting or could create problems, we will call the individuals in and speak to them," said Maj Neumi Leweni, a military spokesman.

He said those who refused to go voluntarily would be "persuaded by other means".

In Fiji, there has already been dissent from the country's Methodist Church and the highly influential Great Council of Chiefs.

Internationally, the nation has already been suspended from the Commonwealth, the US has suspended aid and New Zealand, Australia and Britain have imposed sanctions.

On Sunday, three multi-denominational church services were held.

Some 3,000 people attended a mass in the capital, Suva, and heard preachers who oppose the military takeover urge a return to democratic rule.

The country's ousted Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase, accused of corruption by the military head who led the coup, has said that he plans to return to the capital.

Mr Qarase, who has urged peaceful pro-democracy protests from his home in an outlying island, said he will be seeking talks with the military chief, Cmdr Frank Bainimarama.




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