18 Oct 2005

Tongan pro-democracy movement plan meeting to support demands for political reform

2:44 pm on 18 October 2005

A meeting by pro-democracy campaigners in Tonga is planned for tonight as part of an ongoing rally over demands for political reform in the kingdom.

A prominent lawyer, Laki Niu, began the demonstration in the main square of the capital, Nuku'alofa, yesterday, and says he will remain there with his followers until there's a formal government response to his demands for greater democracy.

This follows his unannounced arrival at cabinet last week to present his model for a fully democratic government.

Our correspondent, Mateni Tapueluelu, says the pro-democracy movement wants to involve as many people as possible at the meeting.

"This is to call the other sectors of the country; for example, the business people, the people from the fishing industry, the agriculture people, you've got people from the law society and the politicians, so they can pull them together and have a united front."

Mateni Tapueluelu says a formal response from the government is not expected until the prime minister returns from his holiday next week.