Tonga renews emergency regulations

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Tongan government has extended the state of emergency in the capital, Nukuʻalofa, for another month.

The move has been criticised as unnecessary by the chairman of the Tonga Civil Society Forum, Drew Havea. He says that life is now back to normal in the capital, and blames a group of Nukuʻalofa businessmen for the rollover.

"We are not sure why they are taking that particular action because we don’t see any issue but that’s their right. If they want to petition for rolling over these emergency regulations, there’s not much we can do, on our part," he said.

The emergency regulations were originally put in place two and a half years ago, as a response to the 2006 Nuku'alofa riots, and have been renewed monthly ever since. They give police wide powers to search, detain and arrest people without warrant within Nukuʻalofa's CBD in order to protect public safety.

Central Nukuʻalofa was severely damaged by pro-democracy riots on November 17, 2006.

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