Plans to continue Nauru protest
Plans to continue Nauru protest against the government but riot police are out in force.
There have been plans for protests to continue today outside the Nauru parliament where people yesterday demanded that five suspended MPs be re-instated.
The five opposition MPs were suspended, their salaries stopped and offices shut, in May last year after they had criticised government actions.
The government accused them of damaging the name of Nauru but the MPs have said they were doing their job of scrutinising government actions.
Several hundred people took part in Tuesday's action which the government called a riot, saying protesters rampaged through parliament, but there is no indication that anything like that happened.
Nauru police and the Nauru government are not taking any calls, but rely on strongly worded press releases written by a Brisbane public relations office.
We are unable to confirm whether today's protest has gone ahead but police gathered early today in large numbers, dressed in riot gear.
There have been a number of controversial moves by the current government, including curbs on protests and media freedom, but Don Wiseman asked Nauru businessman, Lockley Denuga, who took part yesterday, what prompted the action.
LOCKLEY DENUGA: It has been one year since they have been taken out because they stood up when the rule of law was taken out. One day they deported Mr Peter Law when he was a registered magistrate for Nauru. It seems like this government is trying to pull dictatorship tactics. That's what they've turned this country into. People are backing up their MPs so we have a voice again in the parliament house. There was a parliament sitting yesterday and people came to say their voice and give out their grievances.
DON WISEMAN: The government called it a riot. Was it a riot?
LD: It wasn't a riot. There was blockages but people went through that so they can out to reach their goal, the parliament house, so they can say what their piece is. There was pushing and tugging as normal things are but nothing happened. It was a peaceful protest yesterday and today they going to try and do the same thing but the police are in full gear and their captains are saying to them to use the baton. There wasn't any batons used yesterday.
DW: Police, they've got shields and batons, they are not armed are they?
LD: They are armed with batons. No guns.
DW: How many police?
LD: Looks like about 50 odd people in full riot gear at the moment and some others are still hanging about.
DW: There were some suggestions on the first day of the protests that the guards from the detention centre might be brought in.
LD: There were four groups yesterday. There was the police force. There was the detention centre force and they even called in the firemen group and another group, I can't recall what it is. There were four groups working for government that has been forced to come and stand by.
Meanwhile, one of the suspended MPs, Matthew Batsiua, a former justice minister, was arrested yesterday and held in custody overnight, to appear in court this afternoon.
The government has claimed he was disrupting the legislature but his supporters say he was lured to cross the protest line with the government offering him a chance to speak with the president on behalf of the protesters.
It is still not clear what charge, if any, Mr Batsiua will face.
Parliament is expected to meet briefly today with the passing of the Budget the critical issue, but with just two opposition MPs remaining in the 19-member house that is not expected to be a long process.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: