Nauru Government says that former President behind unrest

Updated at 8:16 pm on 10 March 2008

The Nauru government is blaming former President, Rene Harris, for stirring up unrest that led to the island's main police station being badly damaged by fire last Friday night.

The arson followed a protest over phosphate dust by residents in Mr Harris's Aiwo electorate.

Nauru's acting Police Minister, Mathew Batsuia, says since the re-emergence of phosphate mining as a viable industry the Government has been working to reduce the dust produced when the material is loaded onto ships.

He says the Government considers it has cut the dust levels by 90 percent but the protestors are part of group opposed to the Government and influenced by Mr Harris.

"He is their representative, the elected member for that district but we believe that his political influence is distorting the true picture and the true picture is that phosphate dust emanating out of the production of phosphate has significantly reduced."

Next story in Pacific: People against changing driving side in Samoa file lawsuit to stop government move