17 Nov 2006

Tonga's government imposes curfew on capital

9:38 am on 17 November 2006

Tonga's Government has imposed a curfew on the capital Nuku'alofa after last night's riots which left a large part of the business district in ashes.

Tonga Broadcasting Commission says virtually all of the Chinese stores in downtown Nuku'alofa and many areas of Tongatapu were torched.

Its Political editor, George Lavaka, says the only thing moving in or out of Nukualofa this morning are either police or the army.

"All the schools are closed today, some of the government departments, the development bank, and defence have stopped school children from going into the main centre today, because it has been cordoned off. We don't know when we are going to have an official estimate of how much damage but they will be going into the millions."

George Lavaka says the army are guarding their building after demonstrators threatened to burn it down yesterday.