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The BBC's Valerie Jones
"The army are in control around the capital"
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Tuesday, 30 May, 2000, 04:15 GMT 05:15 UK
Foreign Office warns against Fiji travel
Army police
The military have apparently taken over in Fiji
Tourists in Fiji are being warned to stay indoors as the country teeters on the verge of violent chaos.

As the rebel leader holding 30 hostages in the parliament building refused to accept the country's new military ruler, the Foreign Office warned against all but essential travel to Fiji.

The army declared martial law on Monday and, justifying the takeover, Commodore Frank Bainimarama said the Fiji Military Forces were forced to act because of the rapid breakdown of law and order.

George Speight at church service
Rebel leader George Speight refusing to accept martial law
But rebel leader George Speight, who led the coup attempt on 19 May, refused to recognise his authority.

As troops took up position on the streets and at key installations in Fiji, officials in Britain advised against any travel to the country's capital, Suva, and said any British nationals who were there should immediately contact the High Commission.

Around 200 Britons are currently registered at the Commission, but the country's increasing popularity as a destination for backpackers makes it difficult to estimate precisely how many Britons may be there.

A spokesman for the Association of British Travel Agents said around 25,000 Britons visit the islands each year.

Tense atmosphere

The Foreign Office said: "British nationals currently in Suva, who do not have essential business there, may wish to consider moving to other parts of the country, or leaving altogether.

"The expatriate population and tourists have not been targeted in the current unrest - tourist hotels are largely unaffected. However the situation may change at short notice. Further violent unrest cannot be ruled out.

"British nationals in places other than Suva should remain within their hotel complex or homes and maintain a high level of personal security awareness.

"They should obey any curfew that may be imposed at short notice and stay away from any large public gatherings and demonstrations. British nationals in Fiji should listen to the radio to monitor developments for further advice."

A spokeswoman for Kuoni Travel, which runs holidays to Fiji, said: "We are contacting all clients who are in Fiji, due to travel and those in other resorts, namely Australia and New Zealand, and giving them the Foreign Office advice and giving them the option to change or cancel their holiday."

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28 May 00 | Asia-Pacific
Policeman killed by Fiji rebels
29 May 00 | Asia-Pacific
Fiji army out in force
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Who is Fiji's coup leader?
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Fiji troops defect to coup leader
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Analysis: Key role of Fiji's chiefs
19 May 00 | Asia-Pacific
Ethnic split haunts Fijian politics
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