22 Jun 2002

Huge crowds at Fiji parade in honour of Britain's Queen

8:33 am on 22 June 2002

Troops of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces and a detachment from the Fiji Navy have staged a ceremonial trooping of the colour parade in Suva for Britain's Queen Elizabeth.

Thousands of people were out in the streets for the occasion.

Although she has not been head of state of Fiji since the country was declared a republic after Sitiveni Rabuka's second coup in 1987, the parade marked the Queen's birthday as well as the 50th anniversary of her reign.

The president, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, who took the salute, said Fiji is still loyal to the Queen because of the trust placed in the British royal family by Fiji's traditional chiefs when they handed control of the islands to Britain in 1874.

Ratu Josefa also praised the military for bringing order and stability to Fiji during troubled times and for its extensive peacekeeping duties abroad.