12 Nov 2007

Tonga continues to enforce emergency regulations a year after destructive riots

8:36 pm on 12 November 2007

The emergency regulations in Tonga have been extended for another month, one year after rioting destroyed the bulk of the central business district of Nuku'alofa.

It is the 13th time the regulations have been rolled over.

They limit access and activities within parts of the CBD and prohibit groups of five or more from meeting at certain sites.

The Information Minister, Afu'alo Matoto, says the police and defence service remain concerned at the continuing resistance to the Government shown by some pro-democracy activists.

"People are just fearful of a repeat of what happened in November last year, that such a recurrence may take place. I doubt it very much because my view is that the people are very conscious and they don't want to see a repeat of what happened last year."

Afu'alo Matoto.

A pro-democracy campaigner in Tonga claims the imposition of a state of emergency for the 13th consecutive month is an admission of guilt by the government.

Trade unionist and democracy advocate, Finau Tutone, says the actions of the Government over many years led to the riot but the authorities refuse to acknowledge this.

For so many years we cry out for Government to consider the right of the public as being revealed in the Declarations of Human Rights. The will of the people is the basis of the Government, of the authority of Government. They still not listen to it.