Authorities in Fiji say dozens of people have been trying to incite political upheaval or violence, alleging some were involved with a paramilitary-style training group while others were attempting to set up a sovereign Christian state.

In a wave of arrests that has gathered pace this month, 63 people face charges which carry maximum sentences of either 10 years or 15 years in prison.

The arrests come less than a year after the Pacific nation of 900,000 held landmark elections which many hoped would usher in a new era of stable democracy following years of political turmoil and a series of military coups.

Some fear Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama is using the arrests to silence political dissent.