31 May 2009

Fiji Methodist church ordered to cancel conference

5:35 pm on 31 May 2009

The Fiji military regime, in its latest crackdown, has ordered the Methodist church to cancel its annual conference.

A joint statement issued by the military and police accused the church of trying to bring instability to the country.

Police say the crackdown follows information that "inciteful issues are going to be discussed at the conference".

The statement said the Methodist church could not hide its involvement in politics and part of the agenda for the August conference focused on the current political situation.

Earlier this month, a former Methodist church president was detained after delivering a sermon calling for peaceful protests to restore democracy to Fiji.

The Methodist church is the dominant denomination among the devout indigenous Fijians, who make up 57% of the total population of around 840,000.

Church officials say they will comment on the latest development after a meeting on Sunday night.