On Saturday, April 18 a group of ethnic Fijians living in Australia pledged support for Fiji’s return to democracy and called on Australia’s and New Zealand’s governments to apply more political and economic pressure to the new order of Frank Bainimarama.
Members of the meeting also called on people of Fiji living elsewhere to help support the country’s political restoration. Soli Vakasama reports former army Chief of Staff and Land Force Commander Colonel Jone Baleidrokadroka spoke to the crowd on the reasons behind Fiji’s 2006 coup; Litia Radrekusa former Crime Prevention and Community Safety Adviser for the Australia/Fiji Community Justice Program, spoke about negative effects of military coups in Fiji. Peter Waqatairewa who was the former deputy director of the Fiji Human Rights Commission talked about “the illegality of what has been done and a call to action”.
A few anti-government bloggers covered the event. From Fiji Girl:
A highly charged meeting of the Fiji community issued what it calls the Sydney Declaration condemning the abrogration of the 1997 constitution and calling on coup leader Frank Bainimarama to respect the Court of Appeal’s recommendation that a neutral government be appointed to take Fiji to immediate elections.
Fiji’s former Land Forces Commander Jone Baledrokadroka said the Bainimarama regime is illegal. ”We tell Bainimarama your day is up,” he said to applause. “The writing is on the wall.”
The former land forces chief said non-violent action and tougher sanctions are needed to bring the Fiji government to its knees. The Sydney meeting endorsed a plan to set up an overseas movement for democracy. The movement plans to establish branches in other Australian cities and in New Zealand, Britain and the United States.
Organizers claimed 200 attendees signed the Sydney Declaration For The Restoration Of Democracy in Fiji, calling for the country to be governed by a “democratic government…under the terms for the 1997 Constitution.”
However, some bloggers think the declaration may have gone too far in places, arguing a “blanket economic ban” against Fiji would harm regular people. A post at the Soli Vakasama Worldwide Movement argues if countries do indeed impose blanket sanctions, Fiji’s regime must fall quickly.
SVWM wish to clarify that while the ban on Air Pacific and blanket economic ban proposed here would probably cause the common people to suffer we need to realise here that we must knock out this regime very quickly and in order to do that we must cut off the means that ensure the continued survival of this illegal dictorship and the common people should be prepared to sacrifice short term for long term gains.
Exiles will help lead to the downfall of the new order, says Tee Jay For A Free Fiji.
With the creation of an organised Fijian led movement in Sydney against Dictator Bainimarama, it is timely that the Fijian diaspora will be a mighty weapon in the fight for freedom.
What happened in Sydney last weekend, and with the intention of setting up other organised groups across Australia, is very powerful.
If this can translate to the many other countries where Fijians reside, then imagine the power of an international Fijian network, in touch with each other on a daily basis. The Dictator has no idea how this can undermine him, and that is good!
Through global technology, the power of the diaspora will rattle the Dictator. With organisation and commitment, money that flows into Fiji from the hands of Fijians living in other countries will reduce to a trickle. It can be used in so many other positive ways.
Through organised movements overseas, websites can be established where information can be shared, political awareness can be developed.
By utilising the power of the diaspora, Dictator Bainimarama and his deluded croneys will face a threat their limited intelligence weren't even aware of.
In related news, a group of Fijian Indians living in New Zealand have asked Prime Minister John Key to continue relations with Fiji’s regime in an effort to keep the doors of negotiations open.