18 Nov 2005

Tonga pro-democracy movement shapes protest plan

9:39 am on 18 November 2005

Advocates for greater democracy in Tonga have agreed to a deal which they claim will keep the Royal Family safe, in return for letting the people pick their own prime minister.

The MP Akilisi Pohiva says they've run out of patience and that they're only giving the government and the Royal family until the fifth of December, to agree to their demands, before they mobilise the Tongan people again.

"We plan to move up to the villages. We have five groups now, so we'll start on Monday, moving out to the villages, that is one way of mobilising the mass."

A member of the Reform Committee, Mele Amanaki, says they've agreed to leave the monarchy intact ... but other changes must be made if the Tongan people are to get justice.

We now want the people to participate in the decision making by electing their own ladies. That's the issue we're touching, and we're not touching the King's power, and we're not touching the King or his family, we still want him to be our King.

Ms Amananki, says they'll also fight a new Bill which she says means civil servants can be fired if they're caught doing anything their employer disapproves of, even outside work hours.

The section also prevents us from doing anything bad, anywhere, that includes our homes, we're bounded to this Bill, 24-7.