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In May 2000 a gang of soldiers and failed politicians, with George Speight at their head, burst into Fiji's Parliament and captured the nation's government led by its first Indo-Fijian prime minister, Mahendra Chaudhry. As the politicians were seized, hundreds of rebels ransacked Fiji's capital Suva.
This was supposed to be a coup by indigenous Fijians angry at their loss of power. But as the drama unfolded and Speight's rebels continued to hold the politicians hostage, the spectacle turned into a power struggle pitting Fijians against each other. This climaxed in a violent military mutiny.
Speight of Violence offers an insiders' view of what happened. Extracts from a secret diary kept by Deputy Prime Minister Tupeni Baba during his 56 days in captivity tell of Speight's behaviour, the conditions inside Parliament, and the beating of Chaudhry; and Red Cross letters between Tupeni and his partner Unaisi Nabobo-Baba reveal the distress and deprivations suffered by the hostages' families. Veteran Pacific reporter Michael Field, who covered the coup and the treason trials which followed, reports the barricade, court and media dramas and offers a powerful analysis of what it all meant.
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Michael Field is a veteran Pacific correspondent; has written several books including MAU; has Listener and RadioNZ slots & media contacts. Dr Tupeni Baba was deputy prime minister in the Chaudhry government and a hostage. He now works in Education at University of Auckland Una Baba is an academic and has researched the coup from women?s point of view.
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