Finn Price/Staff reporter 

On December 5, 2006, Commodore Frank Bainimarama launched a coup d’état to overthrow the Fijian government, similar to the recent coup in Myanmar. Using a combination of military weaponry, barricades and military checkpoints and by seizing weapons from the opposition and police, Bainimarama and the Fijian military overthrew the previous leader, Josefa Iloilo.  

Fijian military checkpoint

The coup was launched in part due to long standing racial and religious tensions between the ethnic Fijians and the Indian Fijians. The administration of Josefa Iloilo served as a beacon of hope for the Indo-Fijians. The ethnic Fijians dislike the Indo-Fijians as they fear that they will lose their traditions and culture, the Indo-Fijians on the other hand want to have freedom and equality, not to be treated like second class citizens. 

There were also long-standing tensions between the Fijian military and Fijian government. 

The tipping point of these tensions occurred when, at the time, President Iloilo proposed a series of bills which would attempt to pardon those arrested in the 2000 coup. 

Similar to the February 2021 Myanmar coup, in which the military seized power and arrested the democratically elected president Win Myint and the State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi. They were arrested and charged with “breaching campaign guidelines and COVID-19 pandemic restrictions…” 

The coup was launched in part, because the parliament was going to swear in new members who had been elected in November of 2020. It is also said that the leader of the coup, Min Aung Hliang, had financial incentive to launch the coup. 

The coup was met with protests, riots, strikes and boycotting as many civilians disapproved of their democratically elected president being arrested, detained, and overthrown. 

Myanmar protests