Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fiji police hold church leaders

The Methodist Church in Fiji has said that seven of its senior members are being held by police for questioning.

All those being held have been involved in discussions about the church's planned annual conference.

Fiji's military government has already banned the meeting once, accusing the church of being too political and setting conditions for future talks.

The Methodist Church is the largest in Fiji and hopes to hold its annual meeting next month regardless.

The church had hoped its leaders would have been released after a few hours, Radio New Zealand reported.

Instead, police, many of whom are themselves Methodists, were treating the churchmen well in detention, Radio Australia reported, with afternoon tea and a prayer.

But the interim military-led regime has banned the gathering unless the church hierarchy agrees to exclude two former presidents and remove any political discussion from the agenda.

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