17 Jun 2015

Nauru protest may go into second day

2:21 pm on 17 June 2015

There are plans today to continue a protest outside the Nauru parliament with people demanding that five suspended MPs be re-instated.

Crowds gather in Nauru

Crowds gather in Nauru Photo: supplied/ Shane Bazzi

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.

A Nauru businessman, Lockley Denuga, says the protest was prompted by the increasingly dictatorial actions of the government.

"This government is trying to pull dictatorship tactics out - that's what they are turning the country into. People are backing up their MPs so that we have a voice again in the Parliament House."

Lockley Denuga has dismissed government claims that the protest was a riot.

He says it was noisy but peaceful.

Mr Denuga was commenting while outside the parliament mid morning where he says a large number of police in riot gear had gathered but no protestors had gathered at that point.

One of the suspended MPs, Mathew Batsiua, a former justice minister, was arrested yesterday and is believed to have been held in custody overnight.

It is not yet clear what charge, if any, Mr Batsiua will face.

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