17 Aug 2005

Tonga students trash school amid strike dispute

1:50 pm on 17 August 2005

Students at a high school in Tonga have vandalised classrooms in protest at government treatment of their principal and his deputies.

The government has moved the two staff from the Atele College, reportedly because they are strong advocates for the public servants strike, which is now into its 27th day.

Our correspondent, Mateni Tapueluelu, says the students wrecked a new computer room, the school's administration office and its main hall.

"They protest that their principal and the deputies have been relocated by the minister of education to the main office. The government believes that the principal and the deputies have been manipulating the students to join the strike, and this why they have been relocated to the head office and this is why the students are protesting."

Mateni Tapueluelu says the protesting students have now marched to join the strikers at their rally in Nuku'alofa.