8 Jul 2008

Tongan police minister says police should continue to have extra powers

5:23 pm on 8 July 2008

The Minister of Police in Tonga says the police should continue to have extra powers because of simmering unrest, particularly in the central business district of Nuku'alofa.

A State of Emergency has been in place over the country on a month-by-month basis for almost 20 months after rioters destroyed the bulk of the CBD.

Siaosi Aho says the police also have extra powers to call on the military for assistance in an area covering several blocks in the capital under the Order in Public Places Act.

He says continuing both measures makes people feel safe.

"Although the situation is calm and everything else there are possible disturbances that could escalate very quickly. The people within a certain area are not feeling safe because of the number of rifles that are appearing in the area, the kind of housebreaking that's going on and everything else."

Siaosi Aho