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Wednesday, August 02, 2000, updated at 16:29(GMT+8)

Fiji's Top Union Leader Held by Rebels

A group of Fiji rebels Wednesday stormed the office of the country's top union official, holding

him and seven other officials captive, the Australian Associated Press (AAP) reported.

Fiji Trade Union Congress General Secretary Felix Anthony said the men, who were part of the rebel Taukei Movement, accused him of failing to support the interim government.

"They threatened me and made accusations but I was not harmed," Anthony told the AAP in a telephone interview.

"They said I was anti the interim government and that I was causing trouble," he said.

Anthony said the men were not armed.

Anthony said he was sitting in his office with several other union officials when the men entered and locked them in the room.

He said he recognized the men as being part of the rebel Taukei Movement.

The incident occurred as Fijian unionists Wednesday held a one-day strike over the ongoing instability there.

"We are calling for peace and democracy to be restored in Fiji," Anthony said.

Anthony said the national protest had closed schools, shops and businesses.

Trade union leaders have been threatened several times since the May 19 coup over calls for a restoration of democracy.

Fiji Trade Union Congress Assistant General Secretary and Deputy Mayor of the country's capital Suva Diwan Shankar was the target of an arson attack on June 13.

Shankar had arrived home one night to find his living room partly burnt and kerosene bottles strewn outside his house.

"My neighbors saw six men in the yard and then later saw smoke coming out of the windows with the curtains on fire," he said at the time.

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A group of Fiji rebels Wednesday stormed the office of the country's top union official, holding

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