1987 coup anniversary

May 14, 2022 8:15 am

Today marks the 35th anniversary of the first coup that took place in Fiji.

May 14th, 1987 the day that the then Military commander Sitiveni Rabuka, overthrew the late Timoci Bavadra’s government, citing at the time that it was to curb the potential threat from the Indo-Fijian community in taking over political power.

On the day in question, at about 10am masked men carrying firearms walked into parliament at the government building in Suva, led by Rabuka.

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The coalition government of the then Prime Minister Doctor Timoci Bavadra was overthrown and a caretaker administration appointed.

The Fiji Labour Party and the National Federation Party had defeated the Alliance Party of Ratu Kamisese Mara and had been in power for only one month before being ousted.

Rabuka stated in 1987 that his actions were driven by a desire to protect the rights of indigenous Fijians and concern of racial discrimination by a majority Indo-Fijian government.

The events of that dreadful year remain forever entrenched in the mindsets of many, with Fiji suffering a massive brain drain and leaving the much-desired question of what the country would have been like had the coup not happened.

Meanwhile, Rabuka has since accepted the blame for the 1987 coup.