12 Aug 2005

Striking Tongan workers question legality of eviction

4:36 pm on 12 August 2005

Striking public servants in Tonga say they may return to the Pangai Si'i park in Nuku'alofa, from which they were evicted earlier today.

Their eviction marks the first time police have been involved in the strike which is now in its fourth week.

Thousands of public servants had gathered at Pangai Si'i almost daily since the strike began.

However, the government ordered them to vacate the area and police were called in to enforce the order.

But the secretary of the interim-Public Service Association says the government may not have been allowed to evict them.

Vuna Fa'otusia says they are now looking at their legal options and have written to King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV to help the situation.

"That piece of land belongs to His Majesty. That is, I believe Section 2 of the Land Act, so it is known as the Royal Estate. The sole authority for that part of town belongs to His Majesty. All we need is a letter of approval from His Majesty. Not cabinet, nor the Privy Council."