In Fiji demonstrators have taken to the streets of the capital, Suva, to protest against what they regard as interference in the nation's affairs by foreign trade unions.
SV & CU demonstrators with placards marching through Suva. (2 shots)
LV ZOOM IN Prime Minister Sir Kamisese Maru on balcony facing crowd.
SV Maru speaks on balcony.
LV crowd listening
SV Maru seated facing reporter in garden.
CU Maru being interviewed.
MARU: "It is a fact that overseas trade unions have set about to besiege us. The powerful voices of international unionism were modulating themselves to organise world boycotts. It meant nothing to them the hardship that would be inflicted on so many innocent people."
Later Sir Kamisese spoke to Broadcasting Council of New Zealand reporter Bill Sutton.
SUTTON: "So Fiji will be seeking to find new trading partners?"
MARU: "I have already made a public statement on that and it's just coincidental that the newly appointed Chinese ambassador came and offered the assistance of his country at the time we were in deepest trouble, when we didn't realise what the future would be."
SUTTON: "You don't think that incidents like this will create closer relations between you and communist countries?"
MARU: "I certainly will look into the possibilities. We have said so many things against communist countries. I have to look at the alternatives between communist countries, relations with the communist countries -- and relations with the New Zealand dock workers and the Australian dock workers -- which is worse."
REPORTER: BILL SUTTON
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: In Fiji demonstrators have taken to the streets of the capital, Suva, to protest against what they regard as interference in the nation's affairs by foreign trade unions.
Sir Kamisese is currently heading a minority government, following recent elections and his surprise re-instatement as Prime Minister. Local observers say that he is anxious to make the most of an issue such as the allegation of foreign interference to stabilise his control in a tenuous political situation.
SYNOPSIS: The demonstrators marched through the streets carrying placards demanding free trade. They are particularly concerned about Australia and New Zealand, where unions have banned ore shipments from Fiji and objected to the use of non-union labour on ships plying to Fiji. The demonstrators finally gathered outside the office of Prime Minister sir kamisese Maru, who warned that Fiji would not allow its trade to disintegrate.