17 Jun 2015

Fears for Nauru MP arrested in protest chaos

8:52 am on 17 June 2015

Over a hundred protesters remained outside Nauru's Parliament until late last night, demanding the release of opposition MP Mathew Batsiua, after his arrest in a protest that the government had dubbed a 'riot'.

Crowds gather in Nauru

Crowds gather in Nauru Photo: supplied/ Shane Bazzi

Government Ministers and caucus MPs had locked themselves inside, away from protesters as well as from other opposition MPs in the building.

Don Wiseman has more:

Repeated attempts to reach the Nauru Government spokesperson have failed and our source reports the Government has tried to ban the suspended MPs from taking part in any protest. In recent weeks the Government passed a number of laws which have been criticised for limiting freedom of speech and the right to protest. It has also banned Facebook, which opponents say are attempts to stop criticism of what are controversial and unscrutinised actions. There have also been recent allegations in the Australian media that the Justice Minister, David Adeang, received huge payments from an Australian phosphate buyer.

Meanwhile, there are unconfirmed reports that Mr Batsiua was beaten by police following his arrest.

Sources on Nauru have confirmed, however that police set up his arrest.

Eyewitnesses say Mr Batsiua was informed by the police that he would be able to meet with the President, Baron Waqa, to discuss the crisis.

They claim that when he stepped through the police line, he was arrested from behind as he set foot in parliament, where he is banned from entering as a result of his suspension.

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