August 31, 2011

Fiji police buildings torched

Last updated 11:53 31/08/2011

A shadowy group wanting to overthrow the Fiji military regime is claiming responsibility for the arson attacks on two police posts on Monday.

The group calling itself the Viti Revolutionary Front (VRF) has also said it is behind a wave of graffiti across the Pacific nation, condemning military strongman Voreqe Bainimarama. Viti is the traditional name for Fiji.

Fiji is under a state of emergency with heavy media censorship, but unusually the daily Fiji Times today published a story saying police were investigating the burning of two bures or houses used by police in the Nadroga district of the main island of Viti Levu.

"We are investigating both fires," police spokeswoman Theresa Ralogaivau said.

"The cause of both fires is still to be determined.

"However, it is important to note that one of the bures was in a dilapidated condition and in the process of being dismantled when the fires occurred."

A bure at the Nawai police station had been used by police to meet members of the community.

VRF, in an email to media, said they set the fires.

"Our aim is not to damage and destroy any property that belongs to our own people or any private property for that matter," the email said.

"However, our property is occupied by thugs and murderers and they are ruining the future of our children."

They say their aim is to prove to Bainimarama, who took power in a coup in 2006, that he did not have the endorsement of the people of Fiji.

"VRF wants to send a clear message to the international communities about the above and to also send warnings to the international organisations and communities that the violent activities will step up to the next level, until the time they hear our cries and intervene," the message said.

For the first time since the coup, political graffiti has appeared across Fiji.

Various anti-regime websites have carried photos of the graffiti which initially appeared on public spaces and a billboard on the busy Nausori-Suva corridor.

The graffiti now appears widespread, including in the tourist areas of Nadi and Lautoka.

- Stuff

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