16 Apr 2007

Tonga MP warns continuing state of emergency could lead to more violence

7:21 pm on 16 April 2007

A Tongan pro-democracy MP, Akilisi Pohiva, has again warned that the country could erupt in violence as the government extended a state of emergency for a sixth month.

Emergency regulations were declared after riots last November, in which most of the business centre in the capital, Nuku'alofa, was destroyed and eight people died.

Mr Pohiva, who will travel to Australia to give a speech on Tonga at the Australian National University next week, says his country is like a pressure cooker.

The state of emergency bans gatherings of more than four people, which means that political activity has been stifled.

There is no indication how long the state of emergency will remain.