19 May 2007

People's Representatives in Tonga unable to control crowd - says witness

9:28 am on 19 May 2007

A witness for the inquiry hearing into sedition charges against five People's Representatives in Tonga, says the People's Representatives were unable to control the people on the day of the Nuku'alofa riots.

The sixth witness to be called by the prosecutor, Hon. Luani, told the court that late in the afternoon of November 16, one of the PRs, 'Akilisi Pohiva, told the Prime Minister, Dr Feleti Sevele that, "the people are waiting outside for the Government's response."

Mr Luani says Mr Pohiva wanted the government to endorse their proposal for the people to elect 21 members to parliament and for the nobles to elect nine representatives.

He says he had supported the proposal made by the PR's but has now withdrawn his support because of what took place that day.

Mr Luani says during the meeting between the PR's and the Prime Minister, they were informed that part of town was burning and Mr Pohiva asked the other PRs to go out and to calm the people.