15 Oct 2007

Tongan reformers plan protest during Pacific Forum

12:03 pm on 15 October 2007

While the Tonga government has again extended the state of emergency first brought in after the riots nearly a year ago, pro-democracy advocates intend going ahead with a protest during this week's Forum summit.

The Public Servants Association's secretary general, Mele Amanaki, says the People's Committee for Political Reform had asked for permission to stage a march.

But the gGovernment instead expanded emergency regulations so that the off-limits parts of the capital included the area where the democracy supporters intended to meet.

Police meanwhile refused approval for them to march.

The Committee wants the already agreed to political reforms to happen next year and not be put off until 2010.

Mele Amanaki says they will still try to make this point in front the Pacific leaders, though a march is unlikely.

"Well at the moment we are proposing just to have a meeting. In order to even march on the unrestricted area we still have to get permission from the police. But we don't want anything to happen so we will tell the people to sit stationary."

Tonga's Public Servants Association's secretary general, Mele Amanaki