15 Dec 2003

Protestors in Cook Islands say opposition will continue to the presence of convicted developer

8:39 am on 15 December 2003

A year after a protest march on parliament to demand political reforms, Cook Islanders have again marched - this time to protest the granting of a 12 month residency permit to convicted New Zealander, Mark Lyon.

The protestors were also demanding the resignations of the prime minister, Dr Robert Woonton, who granted the permit and his chief adviser MP Norman George.

Mr George is also Lyon's legal counsel.

Our correspondent Florence Syme-Buchanan was at the march

"About 200 people walked through the capital at lunchtime, with placards and speeches by community leaders. A comment by a portest organiser, June Baudinet, that the Cook Islands is not a country where money can buy friends or favours, drew loud support from the crowd. Typical of Cook islands protests there was drumming and dancing. The anger over Mark Lyon's presence here in Rarotonga was very evident. Organisers say the march is just the beginning of things and the Prime Minister and Norman Geroge can expect more opposition until Mark Lyon leaves the shores of Rarotonga for good."