16 May 2007

Tonga's government renews emergency powers

10:37 am on 16 May 2007

Tonga's government has approved a further extension of the emergency powers for another 30 days.

The emergency powers initially came into force after the November the 16th riots last year.

Radio Tonga reports that the government made the decision following the advice and recommendation of

the Minister of Police,

This is the sixth time the emergency power has been extended, but this time, only Tongatapu is covered by the new extension.

The radio station quotes the police minister as saying public gatherings of five people or more can now go ahead, even if they are political meetings.

But he stressed that police still have the power to decide whether such meetings may go ahead or not.

The Minister says the conditional relaxation is to safeguard peace and stability and to ensure people do not live in fear.