13 Mar 2018

Curfew continues around Tongan capital

2:54 pm on 13 March 2018

A month after Cyclone Gita hit Tonga, police there are continuing to enforce a curfew around the capital of Nuku'alofa.

The Central Police Station in Tonga's capital, Nuku'alofa.

The Central Police Station in Tonga's capital, Nuku'alofa. Photo: RNZI/Gareth Thomas

This week prime minister 'Akilisi Pohiva announced an extension of a state of emergency until 9 April.

Acting Chief Superintendent Tevita Vailea said as part of the announcement police would continue to patrol the streets of the capital, making sure no one is out after 10pm or before 5am.

Mr Vailea said while most areas have had power restored in Nuku'alofa, there were a few streets which were still without electricity, which police would focus on.

"We pay special attention to that, for the safety of the public, and also the government buildings and headquarters for business. They are very important assets, around those areas."

He said because there had been a number of recent violent crimes, including a murder, and fatal car accidents, the curfew is helping limit alcohol consumption.

"Recent cases indicate that the negative impact of alcohol and drugs is the main driver of crime in any society and currently we still maintain the curfew. So we will continue to maintain that over the next few days but we continue to review on a weekly basis."

He said some bar owners have complained because they want to get their businesses back to normal but he said public safety was paramount.

Police will review the curfew over the weekend.

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