The deadline imposed by Fiji’s army chief Frank Bainimarama passed an hour ago but in Suva all remains quiet.

Then again, who has time for a coup on the day of the Army v Police soccer match?

Yashwant Gaunder, publisher of the Fijilive news website, looked out his window for Crikey this morning:

It’s not a normal Friday in Suva but the streets are normal. Some offices are shutting down because people are worried… All the parking spots are full in my street and the supermarkets are full – people have gone into a little bit of panic buying. People are nervous. It’s past midday but nothing has happened.

It’s the army v police sports game today, so all the senior police and army officers are at the national sports stadium. The army commander is there. Bainimarama is there.

It’s rather difficult to say what will hapen now. I’d like to think it’s a still at a stage where they’re fighting with words. I don’t think it’s reached a point of no return.

It all goes back to May 2000, there are lots of issues but the army is basically waiting for the PM to respond to their demands. He gave into some of the army demands yesterday. Bainimarama said it was not enough.

Now the ball in the in the Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase’s court. It’s still a war of words. We can all make guesses. From what has been happening up until now, it’s too difficult to say. I think it’s still at a war of words stage.

As we go to press Crikey’s sources are reporting Bainimarama has now extended the deadline until Monday.

Peter Fray

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