17 Nov 2006

Tongan government declares state of emergency following unprecedented riots

4:44 pm on 17 November 2006

The Tongan government has declared a state of emergency, giving sweeping powers to the security forces.

It follows the implementation of a curfew in the capital Nukualofa last night following unprecedented riots.

Mateni Tapueluelu reports.

"They have the power to stop and search any person without any warrant, search any premise without any warrant and to dismiss any assembly consisting of five persons upwards if they suspect that such an assembly can contribute to rioting. These are the powers that are just being vested with security forces. And they are surrounding the area they call the proclaimed area that is forbidden for any civilian to enter. Even the businesspeople that want to check their offices they cannot enter."